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Israel forms committee to identify, deport boycott activists

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A tourist photographs a sign painted on a wall in the occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem on June 5, 2015, calling to boycott Israeli products. ©AFP

Israel has established a committee to identify and expel individuals who support an international boycott of Tel Aviv over its continued occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The panel is tasked with collecting data on activists suspected of supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the regime's strategic affairs minister Gilad Erdan said.  

“We have a responsibility to do everything possible to crush any boycott," Erdan said as he announced the new initiative alongside interior minister Arye Dery on Sunday. 

The Israeli daily Haaretz said authorities have already identified a number of activists who had entered Israel as tourists.

Sima Vaknin-Gil, head of Israel’s strategic ministry, said Tel Aviv is seen as a “pariah” regime across the world because of activism against its nearly 50-year-long occupation of the Palestinian territories.

“The bottom line is that today, among nations of the world, Israel is seen as a pariah” regime, she said. 

The BDS movement was established in 2005 to build economic and political pressure on Israel by campaigning for a global boycott.

The campaign has modeled itself on the boycott campaigns led against the former apartheid regime of South Africa.

The BDS movement says apartheid in South Africa is being replicated by Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Officials in Tel Aviv have regularly identified the BDS movement as being a threat to Israel’s security. 

The international BDS movement calls for boycotts, sanctions and divestment from Israel to protest its occupation of Palestinian lands.

Thousands of volunteers worldwide, including scores of Palestinian and international trade unions, NGOs, initiatives, scores of academic societies, business societies, trade unions and cultural figures have joined the BDS to help promote the Palestinian cause.

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