We are not freiers, shnorrers not welcome

The Israeli Knesset has adopted a law that bans entry for persons that support BDS and other boycott measures against the State of Israel. As most other things here in Israel, this law too is hotly debated and where more than one Jew is gathered, a myriad of opinions exist. But pretty much everybody here accepts that continuing to receive your enemies with open arms and show them around and host them in our homes, wont really make any difference – actually they will bend over backwards to spit in our faces and redouble on their efforts to cast us out. So… unhappy about the law we may be, but accept that for the time being perhaps the time has come to show that coming to Israel is a privilege and if you cant behave or in the very least afford us with the right and dignity to live in our own country, with all of our national history literally popping out of the ground wherever you care to dig… well for the time being, you aren’t welcome.

This of course has caused great indignation among Norwegian clergy, in particular those who (still) belong to the Church of Norway, an institution that is fast shrinking following decisions that has caused many a Christian to turn away from the “people’s church” (is it only me or is there a bit of a Soviet ring to this name?). Instead of caring about the hundreds of thousands of their brethren here in the Middle East (with one exception, they will only talk about it if they somehow can pin it on the Jews, they obsess about how now many of them wont be allowed entry in to Israel:

lifted from Vårt Land, google translate. Also note the description of the BDS movement in Norwegian media…. Equal rights for Israeli Arabs…. They already have it in addition to benefits and freedoms Jewish citizens cannot enjoy… exemption from army or national service being one of them. I would like to see how I would fare if I dared to disrespect one of our very many and excellent police officers who are proud Israeli Arabs… My guess I would be hauled in front of a judge (very likely an Arab Israeli one) and be given a royal telling off and painful fine…


 Church leaders can be shut out from Israel

A new law allows people calling for a boycott of Israel and the occupied territories will not get an entry. – Undemocratic and dangerous path, says Norwegian Church leader.
Erlend Friestad

BDS Movement
BDS movement was started by 171 Palestinian organizations in 2005 and quickly gained international support.
BDS stands for boycott, disinvestment and sanctions.
The goal is to end the occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights, give full rights to Israeli Arabs and the possibility of Palestinians who were displaced in 1948 to return.

– I am deeply concerned over developments within Israel. It is quite serious that the law also affects those who act in accordance with international law and calls for a boycott of goods from the settlements, said Secretary General of the Council on Ecumenical Berit Hagen Agøy.

The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, approved Monday a new law that makes it illegal to give visas or residence permits to foreigners who encourage cultural, academic or economic boycott of Israel, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Entry ban will apply to any person who “knowingly” advocating a boycott of Israel and where it “is a reasonable chance that the call has an effect.” The law applies not only boycott of Israel, but every Israeli institution or area that Israel controls. Thus, the visa ban also the occupied territories.

Ecumenical Council, The Norwegian Church “Foreign Affairs,” has advocated boycotting goods from the settlements in the West Bank. The Council also demands that no Norwegian owned companies or state fund invests in funds that help to maintain the occupation. Entry ban also applies to persons who work for an organization that encourages the boycott.

– Dangerous road to democracy

Agøy is more concerned about the consequences the new law has for Israel than for church leaders who do not get to visit “the Holy Land.”

– It’s bad enough to be hit by a ban on entry, but it’s worse for the Israeli democracy is weakened by such a law. A democracy that does not allow critical voices and gag the opposition are out on a dangerous path, says Agøy last was in Israel last November.

– What impact will this have on the Norwegian churches travel to Israel?

– It is very exciting to see how they will enforce this. So far we can not give up the expectation that Israel follows the democratic rules of the game, she says.

Next planned trip to Israel Ecumenical Council is in April.

– Slide the insulation

Bishop of Diocese of Borg, Atle Sommerfeldt react strongly to the law.

– I have been refused entry in other countries before and I think it’s pretty special that Israel puts up with this type regimes. This is a roller coaster on the way to isolate themselves. It’s sad, he said.

He does not support a full boycott of Israel, but believes it is appropriate economic sanctions against the occupation.

– There is no reason to give Israel preferential treatment compared to other countries that are trying to annex the country, such as Russia and Morocco, he said.

He believes that the law is significant curtailment of freedom of speech and freedom of association.

– This is a confirmation that the current regime in Israel yesterday in an authoritarian direction, he says.

activists optimistic

Although many activists rage against the new law, there are several expressing optimism.

The Israeli Ronnie Barkan, one of the founders of BDS group Boycott from within, says the new law shows the desperation of the Israeli authorities.

– This is a clear sign of the success of the BDS campaign and the collapse of the Israeli apartheid system. We are going to achieve liberty and justice for all the sons and daughters of this country, and the new law is a signal that this will happen sooner than expected, says Barkan.

He adds that the Israelis “not denying Palestinians accessed the country, but now they will also refuse entry to foreigners who support the Palestinians’ rights.”

Compares with Trump

Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, Rebecca Vilkomerson draws parallels US President Donald Trumps revised entry ban, which was presented Monday.

– Same day adopted Israel’s own discriminatory travel restrictions aimed at people who support non-violent means to end Israeli violations against Palestinian rights, said she told Haaretz

Also Vilkomerson hope the law will do that activists will win eventually.

– I hope this will hasten the day when everyone can travel freely, she says.

Also in the Knesset received law harsh criticism.

– Who does not advocate  a boycott of the settlements today? See to the UN, the EU and the rest of the international community. Will you really boycott all these and deny them entry? The whole world believes the settlements are illegal. This will only strengthen the boycott of Israel, said Dov Khenin from the common Arab list.

– Refuses Israel’s existence

The law was adopted by 46 against 28 votes. One of the sponsors, Roy Folkman from the center-right party Kulanu, believes it is possible to balance national pride and human rights.

– What does this law all in all? A healthy person who loves whoever loves him and hates that hate him, do not turn the other cheek, said Betsalel Smotrich, representing the right-wing party The Jewish home.

The Israeli Embassy in Norway defends law and believes all countries, including democracies have laws that restrict freedom of expression and regulate entry.

– Boikottoppfordringene against Israel is very often camouflaged attempt to deny Israel’s right to exist and therefore a denial of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, writes embassy in an e-mail to Vårt Land.

The embassy believes that boycott requests must be seen as something more than mere utterances.

– It is a political campaign aimed at putting an end to an independent Jewish state. Wherefore Israel that the country is in its right to refuse entry to those newspapers its right to exist, and participating in activities with the goal, they write.

Dropped exception to Palestinians

The Israeli Justice Ministry wanted to have your exceptions for Palestinians staying temporarily in Israel. Such exceptions would have made it easier for law would be challenged in the courts. The exception was still not included in the law.

Cry me a river. They dont seem to be equally upset when Jews are denied entry to Muslim countries, or face anti-semitism of scary proportions in most European countries today.

1 comment for “We are not freiers, shnorrers not welcome

  1. motti
    March 15, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    About time that Israel is acting more in line with other countries.

    I would ask all those protesting that they should ask which Arab states allows Israelis to enter their countries?
    What is good for the goose, is good for the gander

    Some of the survivors from Utoye who have been brainwashed by their Fatah leader and their extreme left wing dogma will likewise be excluded. Of course it their life was in danger and only an Israeli method could save teir life, what happens next? Hypocrites

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