Israel denies Jewish-American activist entry for BDS support
Israel has denied entry to a Jewish-American activist for advocating the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Israel's immigration authority says the activist, Ariel Gold, arrived to Israel on Sunday and was refused entry at the airport. Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said "whoever works consistently for a boycott against Israel will not enter here."
Gold is the national co-director of CODEPINK, a group that advocates for boycotts over Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.
In a statement, the group said Gold was held for seven hours before being flown back to the US, where she will arrive later on Monday.
Israel has been battling a grassroots movement calling for boycotts, sanctions and divestment. It has previously barred entry to other activists.
The nonviolent BDS movement says it is inspired by the campaign that targeted South Africa's apartheid regime and is seeking an end to Israel's brutal occupation of the West Bank.
Israel sees BDS as a strategic threat and accuses it of anti-Semitism – a claim activists firmly deny, calling it an attempt to discredit them.
But the movement, which adheres to peaceful resistance, aims to pressure Israel to adhere to international law and human rights by lobbying various states, institutions and personas to understand its oppression of Palestinians and take action as a result.
BDS operates by pressuring corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with Israel with supporters saying activities are aimed at promoting a Palestinian statehood.
Israeli officials have recently clamped down on groups seen as supporting the global campaign to pressure Tel Aviv to end its occupation of the occupied Palestinian territories.
A new law was introduced by Israel in March 2017, barring access to the country for individuals and groups who have previously expressed support of the BDS movement.
This includes those who want to enter Palestine, as they must also pass through Israeli border controls.
The BDS movement is seen by many activists as one of the few remaining avenues of effective non-violent resistance to the brutal and persistent Israeli occupation.
Agencies contributed to this report.