Israeli Opposition Slams Ban on Pro-Boycott NGOs

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The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement works primarily in Western countries to persuade companies, entertainers, universities and churches to boycott the Jewish state, divest from it and sanction it in order to force a pro-Palestinian political agenda.

Israel is fighting back against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by banning 20 groups that involved with the movement.

"The organizations named in the list released have undertaken ongoing, consistent and significant action to promote and advance a boycott of Israel", a statement said.

Israel's Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan said that organizations critical of Israel would not be allowed to visit the Jewish state and harm the citizens, adding that it was a shift "from defense to offense".

Among the 20 groups, 11 are from Europe, six from the United States, one from Latin America, one from South Africa, and one is an worldwide umbrella organization.

The statement from Erdan's office said that the proscribed NGOs were "the main boycott organisations which operate consistently and continuously against the state of Israel, while putting pressure on organisations, institutions and countries to boycott Israel".

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Among the groups that are banned include Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Code Pink and Friends of al-Aqsa (FOA).

The U.S. -based Jewish Voice for Peace, which says it has more than 13,000 members, was also blacklisted.

In the years since its formation, the BDS movement has persuaded several church organizations to divest themselves of Israel-related investments and has garnered support on US college campuses.

Unfortunately, the Israeli government is not willing to see beyond its contempt for a peaceful movement such as BDS, even when the group in question did so much to help their own during one of the most horrific periods of world history.

"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", the organization said. Israel has also enjoyed new economic partnerships and diplomatic ties despite calls for boycotts and it has become a top destination for worldwide sporting and cultural events.

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