Lawmaker seeks to ban BDS funding of trips for Knesset members

Should BDS be allowed to pay for trips taken by Israeli lawmakers?  

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

The Knesset’s House Committee on Wednesday held another meeting on the proposal to add to the Rules of Ethics for Members of the Knesset a clause which would ban lawmakers from going on trips abroad that are financed by organizations which delegitimize Israel and call for boycotts of it.

During a meeting in May 2017, House Committee Chairman Member of Knesset Yoav Kisch requested that the clause include a ban on MKs’ trips abroad which are funded by organizations that reject Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state, incite  racism, support armed conflict by a terrorist organization or enemy country against Israel, call to boycott Israel or regions of Israel, Israeli products, academia or culture, or that seek to put Israelis on trial for war crimes or deny the Holocaust.

During Wednesday’s meeting, a new version of the proposal was presented, based on a list recently published by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs which includes some 20 boycott organizations whose members are not permitted to enter Israel, in accordance with an amendment to the Entry into Israel Law.

According to Kisch, this list solves the problem presented during the last meeting by the Knesset Ethics Committee, which argued at the time that it does not have the tools to determine which organizations are legitimate and which are not.

‘We cannot allow this theater of the absurd to exist’

“We cannot allow this theater of the absurd to exist,” Kisch said during the meeting. “It cannot be that an organization whose members are banned from entering Israel, by law, because its activity harms that country, will be permitted to invite Members of Knesset from this house to visit it. They want to hurt the State of Israel and Zionism, and they are using us as a tool and stamp of approval for their activity.”

Kisch clarified that an MK will be permitted to visit these organizations, but only at his or her expense.

MK Robert Ilatov supported the proposed amendment, saying “the big lie disseminated in the world by BDS organizations is political terror, and they receive the support of Knesset members. The Knesset must address this.”

Arab-Israeli lawmaker Hanin Zoabi, of the Joint Arab List, made a visit to Jordan in June 2016 for an appearance on al-Quds TV. The TV channel is controlled and operated by the Hamas terrorist organization, which sponsored Zoabi’s trip.

MK Ahmad Tibi, of the Joint Arab List, felt the motion was part of the Knesset’s “continued effort to restrict Arab Knesset members and hinder their activity.”