TEL AVIV – Israel’s Interior Ministry and Public Security ministry launched a committee Sunday that would prohibit anti-Israel activists from entering Israel and deport those already in the country.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the committee will bar groups working to delegitimize Israel from doing so on Israeli soil, as well as targeting supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“This is a necessary step, given the evil intentions of the delegitimization activists working to spread lies and distortions about the reality in our region,” Erdan said in a statement.
According to a joint statement released by the ministries, dozens of organizations are working in Israel to gather information to be used for promoting boycotts.
The statement said activists often enter the West Bank and encourage Palestinians to take action against Israeli security forces.
“The fight against the boycott organizations begins with those within Israel who wish to destroy,” said Deri. “We have the duty to do everything in order to dissolve the boycott and say in a clear voice that we will not allow harm to come to Israel, and forming the committee is an important step in this direction.”
Last week, Israel deported a Swiss BDS activist who had arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport via Sweden, Channel 2 reported.
BDS chief Omar Barghouti did not have his travel documents renewed in April and Deri was considering revoking his permanent residency altogether.
“The minister wants to consider his status. He lives in Ramallah most of the time and part of what determines one’s permanent residency is where the center of life is,” an interior ministry spokeswoman told AFP at the time. “His (BDS) activities are also part of this.”
Sima Vaknin-Gil, the director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, said on Sunday that government campaigns combatting the BDS movement are working and that boycott activists were “on the defensive.”