Israel has refused to grant visitor visas to seven French and European Union politicians who in the past have supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
All of the politicians are French and include mayors and Members of the European Parliament. They are part of a larger delegation of 20 European dignitaries scheduled to come to Israel and the Palestinian territories from November 19 to 23.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan informed the politicians in advance that they would not be allowed to enter Israel.
“This is not the first time that I have prevented the entry of boycott activists who are against Israel. This time, however, we are talking about a senior group of European officials who come to act against Israel. After examining the background and circumstances, I decided that the delegation (these seven politicians) had no place in Israel.”
Erdan added, “These are senior politicians who support a boycott against Israel and are actively advancing it.”
He was particularly disturbed by the group’s request to meet Palestinian leader, Marwan Barghouti, who is serving time in an Israeli jail for his involvement in suicide bombings against Israeli citizens.
MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) tweeted, “Clever! Now for sure they will be with us and understand that Israel is democratic.”
The group barred from Israel includes members of the European Parliament, Pascal Durand, Patrick Le Hyaric and Pierre Laurent, who head the French Communist Party. Also on the banned list were French mayors Azzedine Taibi of Stains, Eric Roulot of Limay and Patrice Leclerc of Gennevilliers.
Clementine Attain, a member of the French National Assembly for Seine-Saint-Denis was also on the list.
For each of the seven politicians, the Interior Ministry gave examples of Facebook posts and petitions they had signed calling to boycott Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians and comparing it to apartheid-era South Africa.