Bill to ban BDS activists from Israel passes first reading

A bill to ban BDS promoters from entering Israel passed its first reading.

The Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee approved the first reading of a bill that would authorize the Interior Ministry to forbid anyone affiliated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel (BDS) from entering the country.

“The bill allows the interior minister to act in accordance with his own judgment, but the default option is not to grant a visa unless the minister says otherwise,” explained the committee’s chairman, Member of Knesset (MK) David Amsalem (Likud). “We are not afraid of criticism, but we have our national dignity.”

Fellow committee member MK Bezalel Smotrich of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) faction echoed Amsalem’s remarks and said that Israel should not be expected to allow anyone to enter its country at will.

“We should remember that the right to enter the State of Israel should not be taken for granted,” said Smotrich. “There is no reason to allow someone who wants to harm the state to come in.”

In December, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Chairman of the ultra-Orthodox Sephardic Shas party, banned Dr. Isabel Phiri, Associate General Secretary for the World Council of Churches (WCC) from entering Israel due to her organization’s anti-Zionist and anti-Israel activities.

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The State Department considers the WCC to be a communist-influenced group which supports “radical leftist and/or violent movements in the Third World.” A KGB member served as a past president.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News