Experts Share Their Views on New Israeli Blacklist of Human Rights Organizations

This blacklist is more evidence that the Israeli government is intensifying its efforts to repress the growing movement for Palestinian rights around the globe.

Experts Share Their Views on New Israeli Blacklist of Human Rights Organizations

A member of Jewish Voice for Peace at a meeting of a United Church of Christ committee debating divestment from companies that profit from Israeli human rights abuses.

Yousef Munayyer, Political analyst at the Arab Center of Washington, DC and executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights:

“This blacklist is more evidence that the Israeli government is intensifying its efforts to repress the growing movement for Palestinian rights around the globe. This blacklist amounts to blatant discrimination against individuals for their political viewpoints and will mean that Palestinians who are members of, or work for, these organizations will be denied the right to visit their families and loved ones who live in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

“We wear this designation as a badge of honor. When Israel blacklists activists dedicated to nonviolent human rights work, it only further exposes the discriminatory, anti-democratic nature of its regime. Our commitment to working for Palestinian rights and freedom, and our call to hold Israel accountable for its decades-long denial of these rights, will not be deterred by Israel’s latest attacks against us and our allies.

“As with the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, this blacklist and Israel’s other efforts to suppress BDS will be mere footnotes in the Palestinian march toward freedom, justice and equality.”

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for the freedom, equality, and dignity of all the people of Israel and Palestine. JVP is one of the fastest growing Jewish organizations in the United States, with more than 60 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters. See Ms. Vilkomerson’s op-ed in the Israeli daily Haaretz, “I'm a U.S. Jew on Israel's BDS Blacklist. I Have Family in Israel. But I Won't Be Silenced”:

“Israel’s decision to specifically ban JVP leaders from entry is disconcerting but not surprising, given the further erosion of democratic norms as well as rising anxiety about the power of BDS as a tool to achieve Palestinian freedom. JVP members are now joining Palestinians as well as Muslims from around the world, people of color, and other activists who are often barred from entry.  

“Our JVP members have no doubt about the justice of fighting for equality and freedom for all people in Israel/Palestine, and the importance of BDS to bring that closer. We will not be bullied by these attempts to punish us for a principled moral stance that increasing numbers of Jews and non-Jews support worldwide.

“As someone with considerable family in Israel, this policy will be a personal hardship. But I am also heartened that it is an indicator of the BDS movement's growing strength, and hope that it will bring the day closer when just as I go to visit my friends and family in Israel, so will Palestinian friends and colleagues be able to return home.”

Mike Merryman-Lotze, Middle East Program Director for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC):

“We will continue to stand up for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine regardless of the recent Israeli announcement that staff from AFSC and 19 other organizations may be denied entry to Israel because of our support for the grassroots Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement for Palestinian human rights.

“Our response to the Palestinian BDS call is in line with our similar support for divestment from apartheid South Africa and boycotts during the civil rights era. Our work is motivated by Quaker belief in the worth and dignity of all people, and it is that belief that has led us to support and join in nonviolent resistance to violence and oppression around the world, including the Palestinian BDS call, for a hundred years.”

Ariel Gold, National Co-director of CODEPINK - Women for Peace:

“We are appalled, though not surprised, at Israel's release of a blacklist of organizations that support the grassroots boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights. By banning 20 human rights organizations, including CODEPINK, Israel is isolating itself even further as an apartheid state in which one group of people enjoy superior rights and privileges simply because of their religion.

“From its recent arrests and prosecutions of nonviolent Palestinian activists in its military court system, to this blacklist of human rights organizations from around the world, it is clear that Israel is increasing its repression of human rights activists and critics and is descending even further into racist, right-wing extremism, egged on by its supporters in the Trump administration.

“Regardless of Israel’s increasingly draconian attempts to suppress our voices and those of other global citizens of conscience, we remain committed to our principled work in support of Palestinian freedom and for equality and justice for all peoples in Israel/Palestine.”

Osama Abuirshaid, Executive Director of American Muslims for Palestine:

“AMP remains steadfast and committed to advocating for the rights of Palestinians living under Israel’s repressive 50-year-old military regime. We refuse to be bullied by Israel's draconian tactics and senseless punitive measures. In fact, this reinforces our argument that Israel is not a democratic state but a brutal apartheid regime.

“Targeting people based on their political views is not new in Israel. In fact, thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish in Israel's prisons today because they dared to oppose Israel’s military occupation and theft of their land for illegal settlements. This blacklist has further exposed the nature of Israel's settler-colonial project and reveals how effective the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights has been over the past twelve years.

“We further see this blacklist, which includes Jews, Christians, and Muslims, as Israel’s declaration of failure and defeat in the face of the global BDS movement. AMP is proud of being at the forefront of this movement. Nothing Israel does will shake our determination to end Israel’s occupation and end US support for Israel's abuses of Palestinian rights.”

Ayesha Khan, Member of National Students for Justice in Palestine:

“The fact that the state of Israel has chosen to blacklist organizations and activists that mobilize for Palestinian human rights is a blatant recognition of their discrimination and open suppression of nonviolent activism and human rights advocacy. NSJP is a national student coalition whose work is centered on freedom, justice, and equality for the Palestinian people, who have been living without basic rights under Israeli military occupation and colonialism.

"Israel’s efforts to prevent the entry of activists who work tirelessly for the cause and to strengthen the ongoing discrimination against Palestinians who attempt to return to their homeland to see their families is horrendous. However, it reflects on the power of social justice movements such as ours that will only continue to grow and work for change.”

Omar Barghouti, Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights:

“After having denied Palestinians their basic human rights for decades, including our refugees' right to return home, Israel's far-right regime is now denying entry to supporters of our rights, who are using effective, nonviolent measures to help us achieve them.

“Israel's new McCarthyism is reaching a new low. By waging an all-out war on the peaceful BDS movement for Palestinian rights and by now banning international human rights organizations and advocates from entry, Israel's desperate and brutal attempts to weaken support for BDS are already backfiring.

“More and more people of conscience, including mainline churches, labor unions, grassroots movements, artists, academics, students, LGBTQI activists and progressive institutions, are advocating for Palestinian rights, for freedom, justice and equality, by adopting BDS measures that apply pressure and distance them from Israel's egregious human rights violations and decades-old military rule, ethnic cleansing and apartheid.”