Amit Acco, Partner |
Under a recent amendment to the Israeli Entry Law, Israel can deny entry or even deport boycotting organizations personnel.
A visa and license of any kind shall not be granted to a person who is not an Israeli citizen or a holder of a permanent residence permit in the State of Israel, if he, the organization or body for which he works knowingly published one of the following – (1) a public call for a boycott of the State of Israel, as defined in the Law for the Prevention of Harm to the State of Israel through a Boycott, 2011, or undertook to participate in such a boycott.
Boycotts of Israel are the refusal and incitement to refusal to have commercial or social dealings with Israel in order to inflict economic hardship upon the state. The objective of boycotts of Israel is to influence Israel’s practices and policies by means of using economic weapons as the coercive force. The BDS movement for example, calls for boycotts of Israel “until it meets its obligations under international law“.
Recent example of the use of new amendment was cited in Haaretz on November 28, 2022 , where Israel has denied entry to two students from Germany, after the Immigration Authority said that they “hid” their plans to visit a Palestinian university in the West Bank. According to one of the students, she was asked during questioning about her political views and accused of intending to participate in demonstrations against the occupation.
In a response made by the Ministry of Interior, it was mentioned that: “”If they want to come to Israel in the future, they must arrange their arrival in advance with the proper Israeli representation in their country”. This means that these articular students will need to apply for a pre-entry visa if they will want to visit Israel in the future.
It was also reported by Haaretz that back in 2018, an American student, Lara Alqasem, was held at Tel Aviv airport for two weeks over Israel’s claims she was a BDS activist. Following a legal battle that ended with a Supreme Court ruling, she was eventually let into the country on a student visa. The Court scrutinized the Ministry of Interior decision, holding it to be “extreme and dangerous step, which could lead to the crumbling of the pillars upon which democracy stands”
One may also argue, that that law not just empowers the border control to take a denial of entry decision. It can further be utilized if the alleged activists are caught within Israel or the West Bank while committing an act that could clearly be defined as anti-Israeli, which may lead to being apprehended and deported from Israel.
In 2018 Israel published a full list of organizations whose activists will be barred from entering the country. The so-called BDS blacklist was released by the Strategic Affairs Ministry. The blacklist covers some 20 groups the ministry said are part of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) and which it said consistently and openly work to delegitimize Israel.
Here is the full list.
• AFSC (American Friends Service Committee)
• AMP (American Muslims for Palestine)
• Code Pink
• JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace)
• NSJP (National Students for Justice in Palestine)
• USCPR (US Campaign for Palestinian Rights)
• AFPS (The Association France Palestine Solidarité)
• BDS France
• BDS Italy
• ECCP (The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine)
• FOA (Friends of al-Aqsa)
• IPSC (Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
• Norgeׂׂ Palestinakomitee (The Palestine Committee of Norway)
• PGS Palestinagrupperna i Sverige (Palestine Solidarity Association in Sweden)
• PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
• War on Want
• BDS Kampagne
• BDS Chile
• BDS South Africa