Israel calls on citizens to ‘turn in’ boycott activists for deportation

Activism
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Israel will soon search for, deport, and prevent the entry of international activists involved in the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, based on intelligence provided in part by hotline tips to a task force, said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan Sunday.

The program was announced on the minister’s Facebook page with a see-something-say-something statement.

“If you have information about someone pretending to be a tourist who is actually staying in Israel as a boycott activist,” Erdan said, “tell us about it and we will remove him from the country.”

Gilad Erdan. (Photo: Flash 90)

Gilad Erdan. (Photo: Flash 90)

Recommendations for who to deport will be under the purview of “a joint team which will operate to expel and prevent the entry of boycott activists to Israel,” Erdan said. The group will comb through intelligence files and solicit tips on foreign visitors to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory who “are working here to incite and inflame, to collect information on Israel and then distort it and use it abroad to promote boycotts against Israel,” Erdan said, adding, “Does this sound reasonable to you? Of course not.”

While the program is likely to be far-reaching in data collection on the whereabouts of internationals involved with pro-Palestinian human rights groups, only a fraction will be issued notices to leave, according to an unnamed source close to the ministers who spoke to Haaretz.

“For instance, we’ll have to think whether deporting certain individuals will benefit or harm Israeli interests. If it’s a foreign national whose pro-boycott activities are minor, and he is mainly involved in promoting human rights then we have no problem with that. But if it’s a group which is mainly involved in promoting the boycott and delegitimization of Israel then we have no interest in him coming in here,” the source said.

While Erdan did not specify which groups will be the target of the anti-BDS effort, Haaretz intimated the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) could face the first round of banishments.

“What really scares me is to not have witnesses,” Neta Golan, the ISM’s co-founder, told Mondoweiss.

Her group’s members operate in the West Bank and Gaza, where volunteers primarily document the Israeli military and settlers in confrontations with Palestinians. “ISM volunteers also accompany children to school and farmers to harvest their olives in areas where they face ongoing settler and military violence,” said Golan. “We find that our presence sometimes results in reducing the level of lethal force used by the Israeli military against unarmed Palestinians.”

Golan says ISM has been targeted before. Last fall Israeli settlers in Hebron posted placards in the city with the names and photographs of ISM volunteers, asking for others to report them to the Israeli authorities, she said.

Abdulrahman Abunahel, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee released a statement today, indicating his group also anticipates removals.

“Deporting BDS activists in order to silence them and undermine their principled support for Palestinian human rights is not only anti-democratic; it is yet another incident of Israel shooting itself in the foot. If anything, we expect such acts of heightened repression to boost support for boycotting Israel back in these activists’ home countries,” said Abunahel.

Israel has taken steps in recent years to outlaw campaigns to boycott the Jewish state over its occupation of the Palestinian territory, and in the past denied entry to those suspected of pursuing pro-Palestinian activism during their vacation and educational stays. 

In 2011 Israel’s Knesset passed a law under which Israeli companies could sue boycott activists for losses incurred as a result of boycott campaigns. The law is limited to Israeli citizens, and does allow for criminal charges. No business has yet to use the law to seek damages from boycott activists.

Still, Golan noted Israel has for more than a decade already deported activists involved in pro-Palestinian groups, and many individuals uninvolved in the BDS movement. Such instances are common knowledge, she said; though until Sunday Israel had never explicitly stated whether a policy existed to deny entry for those entering for activism purposes.

It is enough “to have a book by Edward Said, or an Arabic sounding name,” Golan said, in order for an individual to be deported at Israel’s airport and border crossings. “Many are activists and many are not and have just been caught in the Israeli paranoia,” she said.

Notably, Israel detained and deported the former president of Tunisia Moncef Marzouki in 2015 after he attempted to land in Gaza as part of an aid flotilla.

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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22 Responses

  1. echinococcus
    August 8, 2016, 3:26 pm

    Anyone falling for the BDS pretext must be truly a moron. The minister, playing the retard, must have studied with Goebbels:
    Anyone who wants to promote the boycotting of the Zionist entity doesn’t go there, dummy. One goes to every other country to do that.
    You can’t boycott a country from the inside.
    He doesn’t even have the courage to say anyone expressing sympathy for his victims will be deported from the Only Democracy.

    • pabelmont
      August 10, 2016, 12:06 pm

      Gives Israel yet-another-excuse as-if-they-needed-one to deport/deny-entry-to people to whom, presumably, they have earlier granted tourist visas. With all that computing power, you’d think Israel could simply save itself the trouble and deny the visa itself. And much cheaper for the tourist. But saving trouble for the tourist is presumably low on their schedule of priorities.

      Come to think of it, though, being beaten, imprisoned, shot, etc., is actually worse than being deported/denied-entry.

  2. John O
    August 8, 2016, 3:52 pm

    Well, someone had to fill the gap left by East Germany.

  3. a blah chick
    August 8, 2016, 4:22 pm

    Okay, I’m confused. Didn’t Netanyahu say that they had DEFEATED BDS?

    “If you have information about someone pretending to be a tourist who is actually staying in Israel as a boycott activist,” Erdan said, “tell us about it and we will remove him from the country.”

    What if they are a woman? Also will Israeli Jews be deported if they live abroad? I can see this as a good way to get rid of irritating relatives before a big wedding/bar mitzvah.

    • RoHa
      August 8, 2016, 11:59 pm

      Yes, I, too, thought that BDS was totally ineffective, and too trivial for Israelis to notice.

      So I have to agree with you. This is a cunning plot to keep the pestilential rellies away.

  4. Mooser
    August 8, 2016, 6:02 pm

    No more crying “Horowitz” and letting you slip in? Awww.

    Well it’s only right, can’t take chances. Interrogating all those people will be easy, anyway. Put them in the interrogation room, and come back in a few minutes and if the donkey isn’t smiling, deport them!

  5. talknic
    August 8, 2016, 9:02 pm

    “But if it’s a group which is mainly involved in promoting the boycott and delegitimization of Israel”

    LOL … Netanyahu et al and the illegal Israeli settlers in non-Israeli territory held under Israeli occupation are the greatest delegitimizers of Israel

  6. Another Dave
    August 8, 2016, 9:40 pm

    I wonder if anyone is going to call them up and inform them that the members of John Hagee’s cult are actually BDS tourists?

    Such a program is a recipe for abuse, it’s like trying to pay people (in, say, Afghanistan) to inform on ‘terrorists’ who are fighting the ‘forces of liberation.’ Some of the ones arrested and abused are going to be innocent.

    • Mooser
      August 9, 2016, 12:18 pm

      “Some of the ones arrested and abused are going to be innocent.”

      Instead of being guilty of what, exactly?

      • Another Dave
        August 9, 2016, 4:58 pm

        That’s what I get for mixing ideas, eh?

        Guilty of not loving the State of Israel with all of their hearts and minds. Guilty of crimes against fashion. Guilty of getting a bad haircut.

        Or something silly.

  7. Marnie
    August 9, 2016, 6:56 am

    It’s imploding. GOOD.

  8. eljay
    August 9, 2016, 8:42 am

    … “If you have information about someone pretending to be a tourist who is actually staying in Israel as a boycott activist,” Erdan said, “tell us about it and we will remove him from the country.” …

    When you claim to be a “moral beacon” and “light unto the nations” state, it’s important that you jail or expel – if you can’t find a way to quietly kill – anyone who threatens to expose the ugliness of deliberate injustice, immorality and supremacism that lurks behind the façade.

  9. Ossinev
    August 9, 2016, 9:44 am

    Soon it will calling on “citizens” to out fellow citizens whose mothers aren`t Jewish.
    Lunatics – asylum – takeover progressing apace

    • Mooser
      August 9, 2016, 12:49 pm

      “Soon it will calling on “citizens” to out fellow citizens whose mothers aren`t Jewish.”

      Between the marriage ‘laws’ (and getting a divorce) and the immigration ‘laws’ I am very sure that is happening already, for various reasons.

  10. Talkback
    August 9, 2016, 11:33 am

    It’s a major crime to witness the racist policy of the so called ‘Jewish democracy” against Nonjews.

    • Annie Robbins
      August 9, 2016, 3:49 pm

      it really pisses me off they control who enters palestine. palestinians should be able to invite /host whichever internationals they want. not to mention other palestinians. i won’t be getting used to this — ever.

      • oldgeezer
        August 9, 2016, 5:05 pm

        Yet they claim that Palestiniams aren’t living under an apartheid system and have their own government. Hmmm sure.

        There is nothing democratic about Israel.

  11. Annie Robbins
    August 9, 2016, 3:45 pm

    The law is limited to Israeli citizens, and does allow for criminal charges.

    i didn’t realize the law facilitated imposing criminal charges. hmm.

  12. oldgeezer
    August 9, 2016, 5:14 pm

    Israel and the racist zionists fear truth. Truth is their sworn enemy.

    There are many lies which could be told abput any state. There is no need to visit anywhere if all you need or want to do is spread lies or disinformation.

    Nope… Israel wants people kept or kicked out so they can hide the truth.

    I can’t blame. In the case of Israel the truth is brutal ugly immoral and criminal. They have to hide it.

  13. JLewisDickerson
    August 9, 2016, 7:44 pm

    RE: “ISM volunteers also accompany children to school and farmers to harvest their olives in areas where they face ongoing settler and military violence,” said Golan. “We find that our presence sometimes results in reducing the level of lethal force used by the Israeli military against unarmed Palestinians.”

    SEE: “Jews protect Palestinians in harvest of hate” | By Donald Macintyre in Awarta, West Bank | The Independent (U.K.) | October 10, 2008
    Israelis cross religious divide to shelter olive farmers from settlers’ attacks

    [EXCERPTS] . . . Born in Tel Aviv, Ms Siew served in the army, took a university degree, then a teacher’s diploma. Thirty-six years ago, she took the tough decision to emigrate to London, telling her parents: “I won’t come back until there’s peace.” Ms Siew, who is now 64, remains an Israeli citizen but now lives with her British husband in Hebden Bridge. She has kept to her word, except that each autumn she comes back to stay in her hometown with her relatives and spends each day of the two-month harvest season picking olives on Palestinian farmland in the West Bank.
    And Ms Siew does that for a purpose. Up on the ridge above us, you can see the red roofs of Itamar, a notably hard-line Jewish settlement, and she is here to help protect the Palestinian farmers from the threat of settler violence which has so often scarred the olive harvests.
    . . . Last year, she was in a group in the South Hebron Hills confronted by settlers who fired shots from a pistol and an M16 assault rifle, despite the presence of the army and police. “Then one of the soldiers said, ‘Look, one of them is coming down with a jug of water for you’. The settler emptied the jug over me. It was full of human shit.” . . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/jews-protect-palestinians-in-harvest-of-hate-956706.html

  14. kev
    August 11, 2016, 11:55 am

    So, Israel has its McCarthyism/HUAC moment. A lot of Jews suffered because of the blacklisting and the interrogations by HUAC and Joe McCarthy for suspected Communist activities. Either Israel can’t learn from history, or they really don’t care who suffers, whether they are actual perpetrators of the dangerous support for Palestinian rights or just get caught in the thresher.

    Israel is sick. Very, very sick.

  15. hellsbells
    August 13, 2016, 10:44 pm

    Will soon? They have been doing this for years. There is no “will soon” about it. Let’s correct this text…

    Israel has been searching for, strip searching, digitally raping, jailing, deport, making false reports of to Homeland Security and Interpol of terrorist links of anyone who, even if Jewish and a passport holder of the Jewish state, has friends who are Palestinian. Israel’s social media team is embedded in the profiles of near every Israeli and Zionist support group. No so called peace discussion is without their presence.

    Hence we no longer share Facebook spaces with Zionists! Or if you do the then the best approach is to have a block list of at least 1,000 Zionists.

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