The government will create a blacklist for local individuals and groups known to support the pro-Palestinian boycott movement against Israel.
Israel is ramping up its crackdown on the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as the government plans a blacklist for citizens and companies in Israel that support the movement to then deny them tax breaks and other state benefits, Israeli media reported Thursday.
According to left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon is set to approve within days new regulations to prevent organizations and individuals in Israel who support a boycott of Israel from “receiving various tax breaks or from participating in government bids.”
The list will target political activists and organizations who are actively supporting the BDS movement but will not include people who are simply critical of Israel, the report claimed according to sources at the ministry.
The list could also include those who are less hostile towards Israel and only call for boycotting the illegal Israeli Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank as Israel does not distinguish between calls for boycotting the settlements or Israel itself, the newspaper argued.
Such a list would be a complement to the already-existing Boycott Prevention Law that lists foreign organizations and individuals supporting the BDS and ban them from entering the country or doing business or work in Israel. A list of those people and organizations was published in January.
The unnamed Israeli finance ministry officials told Haaretz that anyone who is to be sanctioned under any new regulations would first be summoned for a hearing on the matter. The companies, groups and individuals would be barred from tax breaks, government contracts bids and government jobs.
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They also said the ministry is trying to expand the Boycott Prevention Law to allow for suing boycott activists and organizations.
The BDS movement was launched in 2005 to promote a peaceful action around the world to help end Israel’s abuses against Palestinians, by cutting off cultural, academic, and economic ties with the state.
Supporters of the movement argue that the latest Israeli offensive against boycott efforts is evidence that the campaign is fruitful and is hurting Israel internationally as many global artists, prominent figures and companies have in fact positively responded to calls by the pro-Palestinian activists for boycotting Israel.
The latest endorsement of BDS came from New Zealand singer Lorde when in December she canceled a show in Tel Aviv after two fans wrote an open letter asking her not to perform in Israel, as that would be seen as supporting the state’s abusive policies and occupation in Palestine.
She was then attacked by the Israeli right-wing government and its supporters, prompting more than 100 artists, actors and authors from around the world to pen a letter in support of her endorsement of the pro-Palestinian boycott.
Top Photo | A demonstrator displays a sign reading “Boycott Israel, racist state”. (Photo: Reuters)