Israel blacklists 20 groups over Palestine

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Authorities in Israel said on Sunday that it identified 20 activist groups from around the world whose members will be banned from entering the country over their calls to boycott the Jewish state over its policies on Palestinians.

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement that the ban which would affect groups in U.S., South Africa and France is aimed at stepping up Israel’s fight against groups it views as a serious threat.

Israel last year enacted a law that would ban any activist who “knowingly issues a public call for boycotting the Jewish state.”

The list made public Sunday follows up on that legislation and could impact thousands of people if it is enforced.

“The boycott organisations must know that we will act against them.

“The creation of this list is another step in our struggle against the incitement and lies of the boycott organisations,”Erdan said.

The list is part of Israel’s efforts against a grassroots movement known as BDS, which calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel over its policies toward the Palestinians.

The movement has urged businesses, artists and universities to sever ties with Israel and it includes thousands of volunteers around the world.

Supporters of the movement say the tactics are a nonviolent way to promote the Palestinian cause.

Israel says the campaign goes beyond fighting its occupation of territory Palestinians claim for their state and often masks a more far-reaching aim to delegitimise or destroy the Jewish state.