This week, the Israeli Ministry of Interior released criteria for enforcement of a selective travel ban, following the apparent first application of the ban to five Americans. Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, released the following statement:
“Banning political opposition is the policy of despots and cowards, not democracies.
“The Netanyahu government’s new Progressive Ban, which uses blacklists and litmus tests to bar progressive visitors from entering Israel based on their beliefs, flies in the face of the democratic principles enshrined in Israel’s declaration of independence.
“NIF strongly opposed this law when it was being debated in March. We opposed the law because Israel, like any democracy, should not use political litmus tests to decide who can enter the country. We also oppose it because in establishing who the law targets, it makes no distinction between those who boycott settlement products and those who boycott all of Israel. This feeds into the strategy of the extremists that want to erase the Green Line.
“When the bill was still under consideration, NIF’s own Vice President, Jen Gorovitz, was detained and interrogated at Ben Gurion airport because of her work with NIF. This was a clear indication that immigration officials think that it’s their job to intimidate and silence those who stand against Netanyahu’s policies with respect to the occupation.
“Our position is principled: We do not support the BDS movement. We oppose the government’s Progressive Ban and all its actions to punish those with whom it disagrees.”