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    Israeli Government Announces Plan To Surveil and Deport BDS Activists

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    In an escalation of tactics against the Pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, the Israeli government has announced a new program that will track and deport people who support and are involved with the organization.

    Interior Minister Arye Dery and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan unveiled the program on Sunday, saying that a government task force would begin gathering intelligence on Pro-Palestinian organizations and activists, with the intent of collecting information to have them legally deported. 

    Dery said, "We have the responsibility to do all we can to crush the boycott and say clearly that we will not allow the State of Israel to be harmed."

    Erdan posted text on Facebook encouraging Israeli citizens to inform the government of any activities they consider to be suspicious.

    "If you have information about someone who is pretending to be a tourist but is in fact a boycott activist visiting Israel, let us know and we'll act to have him expelled from Israel," he wrote.

    The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) leads the global divestment campaign, and released a statement denouncing the task force and its motivations: 

    "After failing to counter or even diminish the unmistakable impact of BDS in isolating its brutal regime of oppression, Israel is dropping the mask. It is revealing its true face to the world as a ruthless, warmongering pariah state, and it is resorting to the same repressive tools deployed by apartheid South Africa in its last chapter, before its eventual collapse."

    "We salute every person of conscience around the world who has creatively, passionately and selflessly supported the Palestinian struggle for our rights under international law. We are confident that Israel's intensifying repression notwithstanding, this principled solidarity will significantly contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality."

    In a separate statement, BNC noted how the movement continued to garner support, despite Israeli government efforts that include preventing their leaders from traveling, and attempting to revoke their residency.

    "Mainstream organisations and even governments recognise Israel’s repressive war against BDS," according to the BNC statement, "as a dangerous challenge to fundamental freedoms. Representatives of the Swedish, Irish and Dutch governments have publicly defended the right to advocate and campaign for Palestinian rights under international law through BDS, as have organisations including Amnesty International, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the American Civil Liberties Union."

    Despite this, Israeli efforts to quash BDS have found some success in nations allied with Israel, including Canada, the US, France and the United Kingdom. 

    Arguments over the Palestine question in the US were made most apparent during Democratic Party platform negotiations, in which Hillary Clinton supporters rejected any proposal critical of Israel. 

    The BNC statement concluded, "We salute every person of conscience around the world who has creatively, passionately and selflessly supported the Palestinian struggle for our rights under international law…We are confident that Israel's intensifying repression notwithstanding, this principled solidarity will significantly contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality."

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    Tags:
    Palestine, Israel, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, bds, Palestine, Israel
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