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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/10/17

Bibi Blocks BDS Backers At Israel's Borders

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(Image by (From Wikimedia) Benjamin Netanyahu on September 14, 2010.jpg: US State Dept. derivative work: TheCuriousGnome / , Author: See Source)
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On Monday, March 6, the Israeli Knesset passed a travel ban which strongly resembles a U.S. travel ban scheduled to go into effect the middle of next week.

The U.S. ban is a second effort by the Trump White House to ban travelers entering the U.S. from six predominantly Muslim nations, a white nationalist action which strongly resembles Israel's travel ban against supporters of boycotts against Israel, Israeli settlements or Israeli institutions.

As Palestinians and Palestine supporters who have traveled to Palestine can testify, the new law will codify what unofficially has been operational for decades.

This new Israeli ban blocks travelers identified as supporters of BDS.

Specifically, the law states: "No entry or residency permit of any kind will be given to a person who is not a citizen of Israel or a permanent resident, if the person, the organization or body that he is active on behalf of, has called for a boycott of Israel in any public media or who committed to participate in such a boycott."

When President Trump ordered "that entry to the U.S. be suspended for residents from six Muslim-majority countries and blocked refugees from around the world Monday, retooling the executive order that stoked chaos at airports and drew international condemnation and a rebuke in the courts."

"Trump removed Iraqis from the list of travelers who were temporarily banned, clarified that holders of visas and green cards can come to the U.S. and took other steps aimed at ensuring the order holds up in court."

Trump and Netanyahu are now partners in crime through the linkage of their respective nationalisms. Israel sells itself as an increasingly isolationist nation, at the same time it continues, unabated, an illegal and brutal occupation which produces its isolation.

Trump's white nationalism, which was a big factor in his 2016 presidential election, links him to Netanyahu through their nationalisms soaked in religious exceptionalism.

The Forward reports that sponsors of Israel's anti-boycott bill argue that calls to boycott Israel represent "a new front of war against Israel." Knesset member Roy Folkman of the Kulanu party said, "we can defend the state of Israel's name and dignity and it's not an embarrassment."

Michael Sfard, an Israeli human rights attorney, described the impact of the new law:

"In theory, the law could target a huge swath of travelers -- from outspoken activists who join West Bank protests, to foreign nationals including several European politicians like the British Jeremy Corbyn who have called for boycotting economic, academic and cultural institutions in Israel or the West Bank."

Cornel West is a long-time supporter of BDS. West said he would obviously be a target for this ban. In an interview with Ha'aretz, he said:

"BDS is not a homogenous movement. There are a lot of different voices, but it is the only non-violent response I can see to the very ugly occupation, and I would do exactly the same if there was a Palestinian occupation of Jews. It's a moral issue, a spiritual issue."

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

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