Jewish and pro-Israel activists have been battling the BDS boycott movement for years, with greater or lesser success depending on the case. The one thing that has been missing has been support from the one authority that should have been on top of this vicious enemy from the start – the Israeli Government. But they have been missing in action. Either they ignored the threat or their responses were confused and divided among too many ministries and offices.
But finally, after years of prodding and pleading, they have started to wake up and take action. Back in May, the founder and chief provocateur of the BDS bigots, Omar Barghouti, was denied travel papers and prevented from travelling to Israel.
Barghouti was informed last month that the Interior Ministry would not renew his travel documents, which are usually granted to permanent residents of Israel who do not have full citizenship.
An Interior Ministry spokeswoman told AFP that Barghouti could not yet receive his travel documents since Interior Minister Aryeh Deri was considering revoking his permanent residency.
That moment can’t come fast enough.
Then last week a Swiss BDS activist was denied entry to Israel at Ben Gurion Airport:
Rita Faye has visited the Jewish State a number of times in the past, and is known for her harassment of IDF soldiers at Palestinian Authority crossing checkpoints around Jericho.
She is a member of a Christian organization that supports the BDS movement and has recorded the activities of the soldiers she has tracked, and then sent the information abroad, according to the report.
Upon her arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport on Tuesday, she was taken for questioning by security personnel.
Faye was put back on a plane with a deportation issued by Interior Minister Arye Deri at the request of the IDF when it was discovered she was headed to Israel.
I didn’t think the day would come when i would applaud anything that Arye Deri does, but Kol Hakavod to him.
The Knesset is now looking to formalize these policies into law. Bayit Yehudi MK Yinon Magal has submitted a bill to prevent boycott activists from entering Israel:
MK Yinon Magal (Jewish Home) submitted a bill on Monday prohibiting the entry of foreign nationals who call for a boycott of Israel into the country.
Under the proposed bill, special cases may be given access to enter the Israel, but will need the approval of the Interior Ministry to do so.
For instance, Jews, entitled to make aliyah under the Law of Return, who are also supporters of the boycott movement against Israel, will have to receive special dispensation.
According to Magal, the bill aims to fix the “absurd situation” whereby people who call for a boycott of Israel are entering the country and working against it from the inside.
Expanding on this bill, Public Security Minsiter Gilad Erdan is looking to create a task force to locate and deport BDS activists:
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri decided Sunday to set up a joint taskforce that will work to deport boycott, divestment and sanctions activists operating in Israel, and identify other BDS activists and prevent them from entering.
The decision was made in a meeting of the ministers and Interior Ministry officials. Hundreds of BDS activists are currently operating in Israel.
“There are dozens of organizations in Israel today under a variety of umbrellas that are working to gather information and to use it to advance a boycott against Israel. Boycott activists frequently come to Judea and Samaria and agitate the local residents against security forces and disrupt their [security forces’] activity. This is something that the joint team will fight against,” an Interior Ministry statement said.
Erdan said, “This is a necessary step in light of the malicious intentions of those working to spread lies and to distort the reality in our region. Soon the legal team I established will also present its findings, and we will implement additional recommendations for legal action and to have the authorities work against the boycott organizations and their activists. A price must be paid for the boycott.”
Working together with the DMU organization and the Zionist Foundation for Israel, Father Gabriel Naddaf, founder of the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum, recently presented the Interior and Public Security ministries and police with a report on boycott activists operating in Israel on tourist visas.
Again, all I can say is “About blooming time!”. We have been protesting and nagging and demonstrating and taking action, but all the while the government has been turning a blind eye, or reacting rather than taking pro-active positions. Let us hope that these proposed bills and task forces don’t fizzle out under intervention from the Opposition or the hyperactive Supreme Court, or under pressure from foreign governments.
Judith Bergman remarks that finally, Israel is saying to the world “No more Mr. Nice Guy“:
Israel always plays nice. For decades, we have been allowing those who demonize and delegitimize Israel to cross our borders and do their dirty work against us on our own soil.
The reasoning behind Israel’s welcoming policy is that we are a democracy, and we will allow even those who wish us nothing but harm to benefit from our democratic policies. But the real reason is more likely a fear of the international backlash that denying entry to Israel-haters would elicit. Whatever the case may be, the policy has always been a big mistake. As a sovereign nation, Israel should be free to turn anyone it wishes away at the border.
This is a logical and natural move, and it should have been implemented as soon as the BDS movement surfaced. We have bent over backward so far to accommodate the so-called international community and its “concerns” that frankly our backs are about to break.
We should also expect an outcry from the European Union and several of its individual member states. Many of the organizations that promote BDS are sponsored to a lesser or greater degree by the EU, one or more of its member states (particularly Germany and the Scandinavian countries), or both, bringing into serious question whether these organizations are truly non-governmental in the first place.
Israel must demand a clear answer as to why these supposedly friendly nations support anti-Israel efforts. Is it customary for countries that cooperate and enjoy full diplomatic relations to engage in hostile activities against each other behind each other’s backs? The question is simple and has an even simpler answer.
The only issue remaining to be seen is whether the Israeli government will live up to its grandiose declarations.