By Assad Rehman, Director of War On Want
Israel’s “BDS blacklist”, published in the Israeli media, bans 20 charities and human rights groups from entering the country, because they support the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement – a campaign that holds Israel to account over violations of Palestinian rights and international law.
This repressive move is borrowed straight from the playbook of South Africa’s apartheid regime, which had the same aim of silencing critics. Ultimately, Israel’s blacklist will fail, just as South Africa’s did. But first and foremost, the ban calls for a robust condemnation from people of conscience around the world – and the UK government, which continues to conduct “business as usual” with Israel.
As one of the blacklisted organisations, War on Want is in good company, alongside groups such as the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Jewish Voice for Peace and the American Friends Service Committee – a US Quaker group awarded a Nobel peace prize in 1947 for assisting people persecuted by the Nazis.
Barring foreign advocates of human rights and international law is the latest in a string of increasingly frantic attempts to gag critics of the Israeli government’s unjust and illegal policies, and to intimidate the growing global movement in defence of Palestinian rights.
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