Thousands march in Washington, D.C., to protest against U.S. support for Israel's offensive in Gaza, August 2, 2014. So far, Israeli attacks have killed at least 1,622 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, including 326 children. (BDS)

Knesset: Bill proposing ban of BDS activists passes first reading

PNN/ Jerusalem/
The Israeli government (Knesset) on Monday has passed a bill that would ban Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) activists from Israel.
The bill passed its first reading by a landslide 42 to 15 in favor, with seven abstentions.  For it to become  a law, it has to pass a second and a third reading.

The proposed legislation would allow Israeli authorities to bar individuals or representatives of NGO’s calling for a boycott on Israel from entering the country, and would apply to all non-Israeli citizens or permanent residents. The minister of interior would have the ability to make exemptions. Under current law, the interior minister already has the right to prohibit individuals from entering Israel, i24 reported.

The bill comes in light of the growing influence of BDS movement, which aims to boycott Israeli products to challenge apartheid and occupation.

“In the past few years, the call to boycott Israel has grown stronger. It seems that this is a new front in the war against Israel, which so far the state has failed to address properly. This law will prevent individuals or representatives of companies, NGOs or organizations calling for a boycott of Israel to work within the State of Israel to advance their goals,” an introduction to the bill reads.

Last week, the US State Department joined the European Union, Sweden, Ireland and the Netherlands in recognizing the right to boycott Israel.