Israel considers entry ban on BDS-supporting Amnesty officials

The proposal comes in wake of the organization’s recent fallacious report calling Israel an apartheid state that commits crimes against humanity.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked is thinking of ways to prevent BDS-supporting officials of Amnesty International (AI) from entering Israel, Israel Hayom reported Sunday.

The proposal comes in wake of the organization’s recent fallacious report accusing Israel of being an apartheid state that commits crimes against humanity.

According to Israeli officials, “The report denies the right of the State of Israel to exist as the nation state of the Jewish people, and these are exactly the components from which modern antisemitism is made.”

The Knesset passed an amendment to the Entry Into Israel law in 2017 banning BDS supporters who are not Israeli citizens from coming into the country. Four years ago, the Strategic Affairs Ministry published a list of 20 organizations on the formal blacklist.

These included anti-Israel American groups such as National Students for Justice in Palestine, Code Pink and Jewish Voice for Peace as well as more than 10 European organizations, but not Amnesty. Individuals who come as part of a delegation initiated by any of the groups can be denied entry as well.

“No state would allow visitors who come to harm the state to enter it, and certainly with the goal of destroying Israel as a Jewish state,” said then-Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan.

As Interior Minister, Shaked has the power to enforce this law. According to the report, she is currently discussing the issue with the Population Authority, which is the agency “on the ground” at the country’s crossing points. She will then coordinate additional technical details with the Foreign Ministry.

Very few people have actually been banned by the authorities so far under the law – a total of 16 through mid-2020. Perhaps the most well-known case was the 2019 decision to ban two U.S. congresswomen known for their vocal pro-BDS positions, Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

At the same time, Israel has allowed dozens of vehemently anti-Israel activists to enter, sometimes with special permission of the Foreign Ministry.

In a statement, Shaked’s office said that “in order to prevent the recurrence of such cases, the minister intends to promote a work plan that will prevent the entry of boycott supporters into Israel.

“As part of the plan, a mechanism will be established to determine who meets the definition of a boycott supporter, who is prohibited from entering under the Entry into Israel Law – and his entry will not be allowed.”