Hugh Lanning, a British citizen and chairman of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, was denied entry into Israel on March 12, the first militant anti-Zionist to fall “victim” to a new law banning entry to any foreigner “who knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel.”
“Whoever acts against Israel should understand that the rules of the game have changed,” Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said afterwards.
Prior to the new law, anyone from a “friendly country” who came to the Jewish state could stay on a three-month entry visa unless specifically singled out for non-entry by the Interior Ministry. As Miriam Elman notes, the new law places the onus on visitors connected to boycott movements to explain why they should be granted admission.
The ambiguous language can be construed as applying not only to those, like Lanning, who are involved in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, but also to those who embrace what I call Backdoor BDS – accepting and advocating some parts of the BDS program, such as boycotting only “West Bank” products or sanctioning only certain Israelis.
The law is a determined act of self-defense, an increasingly rare occurrence among free nations in the 21st century. As one of the bill’s sponsors explained, “Preventing BDS supporters who come here [from] hurt[ing] us from the inside is the very least we should be doing against haters of Israel.”
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