In February 2017, Al Jazeera reported that Israeli lawmakers had proposed a ban to effectively outlaw BDS activists and foreign supporters of the Pro-Palestinian human rights movement. According to Al Jazeera journalist Nigel Wilson, the Israeli government advanced this agenda, “based on a 2011 law that allowed for civil suits against people, including Israelis, who called for a boycott of Israel” and the occupied settlements. The official home page of BDS—an acronym for boycott, divestment and sanctions—reaffirmed a message of peace and affirmed its aims “to end international support for Israeli violations of international law by forcing companies, institutions and governments to change polices.”
The latest Israeli proposal undermines the BDS call for equality by withholding temporary residency permits given to families requesting unification. A stipulation of the bill extends to foreign travelers that endorse BDS, forbidding them from entry at Israeli discretion. Previous Al Jazeera coverage by correspondent Alex Kane confirmed that Israel’s Interior Minister, Aryeh Deri and the Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, directed a committee to disband and deport BDS advocates. Kane disclosed the bold stance of another Israeli official, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who described the BDS movement as “the new face of terrorism,” further discrediting Palestinian efforts for justice.
Throughout 2016 the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times all documented the BDS attempts to gain global validation. But the proposed ban and increasing threats to BDS have been less well covered. In June 2016, the Los Angeles Times ran an opinion piece by Yossi Klein Halevi in which he argued that, “the Palestinian National movement as a whole intends to destroy Jewish sovereignty through the right of return” principles. In February 2017, the Los Angeles Times published an opinion piece by Raja Shehadeh, who wrote that, “the greatest enemy of Israeli democracy has not been Palestine… It has been the erosion of democratic values within the country itself.”
Nigel Wilson, “Israel Set to Pass Law Banning BDS Activists from Entry,” Al Jazeera, February 2, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/01/israel-anti-boycott-bill-violates-international-law-170130100931139.html.
Alex Kane, “Is Israel Ramping up Crackdown on BDS Activists?,” Al Jazeera, October 7, 2016, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/09/israel-ramping-crackdown-bds-activists-160922063358112.html.
Student Researcher: Michael Anthony Valdez, Jr. (Citrus College)
Faculty Evaluator: Andy Lee Roth (Citrus College)