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BDS movement condemns Israeli initiative to deport pro-Palestinian activists

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Palestinians walk past a sign in the West Bank biblical town of Bethlehem calling for the boycott of Israeli products on June 5, 2015

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee movement condemned on Monday the creation of an interministerial Israeli task force aiming to identify and deport BDS activists, saying that the move revealed Israel’s “true face to the world as a ruthless, warmongering pariah state.”Israeli Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri and Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan announced on Sunday that they were forming a joint task force to “expel and ban the entry of BDS activists” into Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.The BDS movement was founded in July 2005 by a swath of Palestinian civil society as a peaceful movement to restore Palestinian rights in accordance with international law through strategies of boycotting Israeli products and cultural institutions, divesting from companies complicit in violations against Palestinians, and implementing state sanctions against the Israeli government.“We have a responsibility to do everything possible to crush any boycott and to state clearly that we will not allow the State of Israel to be harmed,” Deri said on Sunday.The BDS National Committee (BNC) said the new Israeli task force showed the desperation of Israel in trying to suppress the advances of the pro-Palestinian boycott movement.”After failing to counter or even diminish the unmistakable impact of BDS in isolating its brutal regime of oppression, Israel is dropping the mask,” Abd al-Rahman Abu Nahel, a spokesperson for BNC, said in a statement. “It is revealing its true face to the world as a ruthless, warmongering pariah state, and it is resorting to the same repressive tools deployed by apartheid South Africa in its last chapter, before its eventual collapse.”The intensity of the backlash against BDS, Abu Nahel argued, showed the important advances the movement had made in raising awareness of Israeli violations of human rights.”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,” Abu Nahel said.”This latest weapon in the intensifying Israeli legal, espionage and propaganda war against the BDS movement for Palestinian rights is a strong indicator of how desperate and irrational Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid has become in its futile attempts to hinder the impressive growth of the BDS movement around the world.””We are confident that Israel’s intensifying repression notwithstanding, this principled solidarity will significantly contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality,” Abu Nahel added. “If anything, we expect such acts of heightened repression to boost support for boycotting Israel back in these activists’ home countries.”The boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel has gained momentum over the past year, with activists targeting companies that act in compliance with Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.In late July, the Black Lives Matter movement — which denounces police violence against African-Americans in the United States — came out in support of BDS, stating that it was committed to “global struggle, solidarity, and support of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement to fight for freedom, justice and equality for Palestinian people and to end international support of the occupation.”The Israeli government has grown increasingly concerned about the growth of the BDS movement, as the movement’s support base has expanded to include companies, universities and religious institutions around the world divesting from organizations complicit in Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights.In January, the Israeli Knesset held a conference to discuss ways to combat BDS, and dedicated 100 million shekels ($26 million) of the government’s 2016 budget to the issue.In May, Israel issued a travel ban on BDS cofounder Omar Barghouti, a permanent resident in Israel, with Mahmoud Nawajaa, the general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, stating at the time that the decision reflected “the lengths [Israel] will go in order to stop the spread of the non-violent BDS movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality.”

(Source / 08.08.2016)

Tags: ICC4Israel