Israel bans 20 worldwide NGOs under anti-BDS law

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BDS, which stands for "boycott, divest and sanctions", aims to pressure Israel into complying with global law vis-à-vis its policies toward the Palestinians.

Members of 18 global organizations that promote a boycott campaign of Israel, known collectively as the BDS movement, will be banned from entering the country, according to a list published Sunday by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Erdan told Hadashot news the list was an additional step in Israel's campaign against BDS.

"The state of Israel will actively prevent such groups from spreading their falsehoods and odious methods from within the country", Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said, apparently insinuating that the peaceful group that helped victims of Nazism spreads "odious" ideas.

Supporters of the movement say the tactics are a nonviolent way to promote the Palestinian cause. Groups in Europe, Latin America and South Africa are also named.

Israel's quest to undermine the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) has prompted the nation to blacklist a group that has long stood for victims of violence, including Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. They were chosen because they are the main ones who "operate consistently and continuously" against Israel, according to Erdan's office.

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Among the banned groups are the Paris-based Association France Palestine Solidarite, British charity War on Want and the American Friends Service Committee - a Nobel Peace Prize-winning US Quaker organisation.

The Ministry of Strategic Affairs announced over the weekend that 20 organizations, including six that are based in the US, are on the list.

"As the minister in charge of the Israel Entry Law, I made it perfectly clear that I would use my authority to prevent individuals and representatives of groups whose sole objective is to harm Israel and its security, from entering its borders".

"Israel's decision to specifically ban JVP is disconcerting but not surprising, given the further erosion of democratic norms and rising anxiety about the power of BDS as a tool to demand freedom", Jewish Voice for Peace wrote on Facebook in response to the decision. Most recently, pop singer Lorde joined a number of other performers who have canceled performances in Israel amid pressure from BDS activists.

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