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Israel rushes to take action as BDS bites deeper

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)
Israel is planning to blacklist more people supporting the pro-Palestine BDS movement.

Israel is planning to step up its crackdown on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by defining stricter regulations against those who support the pro-Palestine campaign.

To contain some of the damage, the regime is preparing a blacklist of individuals and companies that have sided against Israel in order to deny them tax breaks and participation in tenders, Israeli media reported Thursday.

Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon is expected to approve the new regulations over the next few days.

Israeli individuals and companies would also be blocked under the new plan in case they help the movement.

Officials at Israel's strategic affairs ministry said they needed a list for local groups and activists.

“There will be a blacklist, yes, if there is an [Israeli] individual who heads an NGO or an organization that supports the boycott,” one Israeli official said.

According to the official, Tel Aviv was also planning to amend a boycott law that was passed last year in a way that it would allow bringing civil lawsuits against BDS backers.

In March last year, the Israeli Knesset amended the Law of Entry in a way that would prevent leaders of the BDS movement from entering the occupied Palestinian territories. The amendment will be applied to companies that take consistent and significant action against Israel through the movement.

The law refers to both advocates of boycotting Israel as well as those who are only calling for the boycott of West Bank settlements.

The new list would complement a similar blacklist that Israel published in early January, which included some 20 groups whose officials would be blocked from entering occupied Palestinian lands.

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said then that he would use his "authority to prevent the entry of members of organizations and individuals whose whole aim is to harm Israel and its security.”

The movement responded angrily, describing Israel’s decision as “yet another desperate, fanatic attempt by Israel's far-right government to silence its critics and counter the impressive growth of the nonviolent BDS movement for Palestinian rights around the world.”

Earlier in February, the BDS campaign was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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