Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
The ZOA praises the new Israeli law, overwhelmingly passed by Israel’s democratically-elected Knesset, barring entry into Israel of foreign anti-Israel boycott activists. The “boycott, divestment and sanctions” (“BDS”) movement against Israel is unjustified, discriminatory, harmful economic terrorism, powered by virulent Jew hatred. The goal of BDS is to destroy and delegitimize the Jewish State using economic warfare. Israel thus has every right to protect herself with this law, which bans entry of persons who are not Israeli citizens or permanent residents if they, or the organization in which they are active, knowingly issued a public call to boycott Israel or pledged to boycott Israel or areas controlled by Israel (e.g., the historic Jewish homelands of Judea and Samaria, a/k/a the “West Bank”). The law authorizes Israel’s Minister of Interior to make exceptions.
There is no legitimate basis for boycotting Israel – a vibrant democracy and the only country in the Middle East that protects the freedom of worship and human rights of all its citizens. Israel has Arab Knesset members, Arab judges (including on Israel’s Supreme Court), and Arabs who serve in every other profession. Israel is not an occupier of Arab land. Israel has the legal, historical, and religious right to all the lands she controls – including eastern Jerusalem (the site of Judaism’s holiest sites and the Jewish people’s 3,000-plus-year-old-capital) and Judea/Samaria. The British Mandate designated all this area as a “sacred trust” for the Jewish homeland, and for “close settlement” by the Jewish people; and UN Charter article 80 preserved these rights. The Palestinian Arabs turned down every proposed agreement to legally change the status of parts of these lands. Moreover, today, 99% of Palestinian Arabs live in the 40% of Judea/Samaria and Gaza where they have full autonomy or more where they have their own government, schools, media, etc.
BDS is a scourge and danger that Israel has every right to combat and refuse to give succor to. BDS has caused both Jews and Arabs in Israel and Judea/Samaria to lose their livelihoods. Companies such as G4S, which employed thousands of Israelis, left Israel in the wake of the BDS movement’s nonstop harassment and defamation of the company for operating in Israel. BDS activists have repeatedly demonstrated that the goal of BDS is to make Israel and its citizens destitute, and Israel’s destruction.
Moreover, so-called “targeted BDS” aimed at Jews in Judea/Samaria and eastern Jerusalem is a fraud. “Targeted BDS” in actuality targets all of Israel. For instance, companies based in Haifa are targeted simply because some of their products are sold in Judea/Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. “Targeted BDS” is also a “gateway drug”: For instance, the radical leftwing anti-Israel group “Partners for Progressive Israel” first promoted boycotting “West Bank” products made by Jews, and then “graduated” to a broader boycott of Israel, saying that everything is “intertwined.”
Leftwing groups (J Street and AJC) are objecting to the new Israeli law. However, we have to wonder: Why would an anti-Israel boycotter even seek to enter Israel? Why would he/she travel to Israel and spend money at hotels, falafel stands, car rental companies and taxis in the Jewish state?
The answer lies in the hypocrisy of the BDS movement, whose leaders have availed themselves of Israel’s nondiscriminatory premier educational facilities and other institutions – while traveling around the world falsely accusing Israel of apartheid and working to economically destroy the Jewish State. For instance, BDS-leader Omar Barghouti, who was born in Qatar and raised-in-Egypt, and co-founded the BDS movement and the BDS movement’s academic and cultural subdivision PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) (PACBI), received his masters’ degree from Tel Aviv University and has been pursuing a PhD at Tel Aviv University – all while traveling throughout the world maligning and economically damaging Israel.
Israel has acted appropriately to protect herself from foreign boycotters of Jewish businesses, artists, professors and educational institutions in Israel.