On Sunday (Jan. 7), Israel released a listing of 20 bds groups that are prohibited, effective immediately, from entering the country, Haaretz reported. Some of those groups banned are US based anti-Israel groups that include Code Pink, National Students for Justice in Palestine, and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

According to Haaretz, Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry had delayed releasing the list of “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) groups for several months. The BDS, which is a Palestinian-led movement, are found in France, Italy, Sweden, South Africa, Chile, the United States, and elsewhere.

Israeli Affairs Minister statement

Strategic Israeli Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan stated that they have moved from a defensive stance to an offensive approach in dealing with the BDS movement. Erdan further stated that by boycotting certain organizations, those groups will understand that under no circumstances, will the State of Israel allow them to inflict harmful acts on Jewish citizens. Israel’s Interior Ministry spokesperson, who will be in charge of enforcing the BDS compliance, added that these groups and its members are attempting to take advantage of the law as well as Israel’s generosity.

The CEO of the New Israel Fund responded to Israel’s actions and stated that such a political ban amounts to nothing more than that of an “autocracy system of government and not a democracy.” He further stated punishing those with whom Israel disagrees with, is wrong.

Citizens previously banned entry into Israel

The Interior Ministry has already denied several people access into Israel due to their BDS support. In Dec. 2016, a person named, “Isabel Phiri,” who is a church elder with the World Council of Churches and lives in Switzerland, was placed on a flight back to Switzerland after she arrived at the Ben-Gurion International Airport.

This was the first incidence of where a tourist was denied entry based on anti-Israel activities and supporting the BDS movement.

In another case, the chairman of the British anti-Israel group, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, was held for questioning and denied entry in 2017 due to his support for the terrorist organization, Hamas, after landing at Israel’s airport.

Israel also stated that mayors and government officials who are anti-Israel and promote and engage in such activities will also be prevented from arriving, as will advocates who arrive in Israel on behalf or is a part of a delegation of the blacklisted BDS organizations.