In response to the “Boycott Bill,” which passed in the Knesset today, Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, released the following statement:
“The Trump administration has signed a Muslim Ban; the Netanyahu government now has enacted a Progressive Ban. On the same day President Trump signed a new racist, Islamophobic executive order, the Knesset has shown that it, too, will make it a matter of law and policy to use discriminatory tests to decide who may enter Israel.
“Just a few week ago, NIF’s vice president, Jen Gorovitz, was detained at Ben Gurion and interrogated about NIF’s work. And just last week, Israel repeatedly denied visas to a Human Rights Watch researcher. There can be no question that the right-wing government is using political litmus tests to decide who may enter the country. This is profoundly anti-democratic.
“But this legislation goes beyond an attempt to silence political opinions. By conflating those who discourage buying products from settlements with those who call for for wholesale boycott, divestment, and sanctions on all products, companies, artists, and universities within the State of Israel, this government is attempting to erase the Green Line. This harms prospects for an end to the occupation and the conflict, and hurts Israelis, Palestinians and all those around the world who wish to see an end to the conflict and who support a two state solution.
“We share the concern that this bill would especially harm spouses and family members of Palestinian citizens of Israel and permanent residents, who may be traveling into the country or who live with temporary residency status.
“NIF does not support the global BDS movement. We also oppose attempts to discriminate against those who advocate for nonviolent strategies. We believe in free speech and we are committed to upholding the right of Israelis and others to boycott settlements as a protest against the occupation, and a show of support for the two state solution. If that means NIF staff, donors, and volunteers might be barred from the country under this law, we’ll be on the next plane to challenge it.”