This week, the cabinet decided to establish an inter-ministerial task force charged with locating tourists who come to Israel to promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and other forms of delegitimization. The decision comes after a considerable period in which various groups have sent radical members to Israel, disguised as tourists, to document “human rights violations” and contribute to the anti-Israel campaign.
Political tourism is nothing new. These are anti-Israeli organizations that exploit Israeli democracy to promote an international campaign of delegitimization. The most blatant example is the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, a project founded in 2002 by the World Council of Churches that has an annual budget of $1.5 million. Its goal is to bring volunteers to Israel to “experience life under occupation and change the international community’s involvement in the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict.”
Every sovereign state has the full prerogative to decide who enters it. Europe decides which refugees will return to their countries of origin, and only a few days ago Australia deported refugees and tourists who were filmed speaking out against the country. That’s how it should be in Israel, especially in light of the many threats we face and the exploitation of humanitarian frameworks for political purposes.