Israel Puts A Ban On Travel For Settlement Critics

REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent

Israel will now deny visa’s to any foreigner who publicly supported boycotting the country over its settlements in the west bank.

Israel’s parliament passed the law with a nearly 2-1 margin Monday. Supporters say the bill will keep opponents of the state out of the country. Israeli media says the bill will apply to anyone “who knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel that, given the content of the call and the circumstances in which it was issued, has a reasonable possibility of leading to the imposition of a boycott – if the issuer was aware of this possibility.”

The law is a response to a growing movement in the West called B.D.S. which advocates boycotting, divesting, and sanctions on Israel for its settlement movement. The European Union partially adopted planks of this platform by requiring the labeling of goods for products coming from the settlements, which France began enforcing in November 2016.

“We will now stop turning the other cheek. Preventing B.D.S. supporters who come here to hurt us from the inside is the very least we should be doing against haters of Israel,” sponsor of the bill, Bezalel Smotrich, said in support.

Critics of the bill say it undermines Israeli democratic values. The measure is a “law that is against freedom of expression, that constitutes political censorship and is meant to silence people,” Israeli left-wing politician Tamar Zandberg told The Associated Press after its passage.

Israel also retroactively legalized settlements in the West Bank in early February, drawing censure from President Donald Trump. “I am not someone who believes that advancing settlements is good for peace. But we are looking at all different kinds of options,” Trump told Israeli media ahead of a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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