On March 22, the Knesset passed a law that will cancel national-service positions in non-profits that receive the majority of their funding from foreign governments. Just days prior to this, Haaretz reported on Minister of Interior Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan’s plans to create a citizens’ database listing those who support BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanction) campaigns against Israel. In response, Erdan said he intends to only follow “central activists” who work on such delegitimization campaigns and emphasized the need to follow their activities.
At the beginning of March, the Knesset passed a bill that allows the government to deny entrance visas to foreign nationals who have publicly called for a boycott of Israel or who work for an organization that openly promotes BDS campaigns.
To be sure, drafting policies targeting an individual’s personal political views is in no way the answer to safeguarding Israel’s democracy. But more importantly, it also fails to address the core issue at hand: facts are more powerful than any political sanction.
And here are some facts. Many organizations manipulate human rights through the use of “resistance” rhetoric, blurring the lines between violence and nonviolence, denigrating security concerns, and legitimizing attacks against civilians. These NGOs are funded by the governments of Israel’s allies in Europe. In so doing, these organizations and their narratives are being granted the establishment’s approval and legitimacy.