Following the footsteps of the President Donald Trump of the United States Israel just passed a law that bars entry to foreigners who support boycotts of Israel or the territories it controls.
The new law bars entry to anyone who makes a “public call” in support of cultural, academic or economic boycotts of Israel or areas it controls.
Its supporters say it is aimed at the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, the global campaign to apply political and economic pressure on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories and comply with other demands.
But critics say its true aim is to silence people who support Israel but who do not agree with its settlements policy.
The law comes as Israeli politics have shifted increasingly rightward after the election in 2015.
Last month, Israel passed another law allowing the seizure of Palestinian-owned land in the West Bank for construction of settlements. Palestinians have asked Israel’s Supreme Court to strike down the law.
The entry law would apply to advocates of boycotts of Israeli settlements and could possibly sweep in people who have merely voiced opposition to settlements, depending on how it is applied.
T’ruah, a North American rabbinical human rights group, doesn’t support boycotts, but stands against any further investment in the settlement construction, according to the group’s executive director, Jill Jacobs.
Jacobs said she was less concerned with the mechanics of the law than the message it sends about Israel’s stance on speech.
“Really, what I’m concerned about is the future of Israel and Israel’s democracy,” she said. “It’s not just that it doesn’t look good, it’s fundamentally destructive to everything that the Jewish state should stand for.”