JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli ministers announced the formation of a ministerial task force to determine the criteria for deporting activists with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement who come to promote incitement against the Jewish state.
These activists enter on a tourist visa, but they're not in Israel to see the country. They come to participate in anti-Israeli demonstrations and gather information to promote the BDS movement in their own countries.
Earlier this week, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri announced the formation of a task force, whose purpose will be to identify and investigate BDS activists for deportation or to bar them from entering the country in the first place.
Erdan called it "a necessary step in light of the malicious intentions of delegitimizing activists who work to spread lies and twist the truth about the reality in our region."
"Boycotting Israel must have a price," he said in a Facebook post.
Veteran Israeli commentator Isi Leibler says the step is long overdue.
"The government seems to have only now, belatedly, recognized that a crucial component in the effort of Israel's enemies to destroy us is the war of ideas – and we are painfully losing this battle," Liebler wrote in an op-ed posted Wednesday.
Liebler predicted the decision would cause left-wing media pundits and others to go ballistic. And many did.
"Israel formed a witch-hunt task force to identify, hunt down, arrest and deport opponents of its apartheid viciousness – mainly BDS supporters and members," wrote Stephen Lendman on TruePublica.org.uk.
"Deporting BDS activists in order to silence them and undermine their principled support for Palestinian human rights is not only anti-democratic; it is yet another incident of Israel shooting itself in the foot," the BDS Movement posted its Facebook page.
Liebler also pointed to the "vast sums" underwriting NGOs that, under the guise of human rights, seek to denigrate Israel as apartheid and Jewish residents as settlers, i.e., illegal occupiers of "Palestinian land."
He says those activities are tantamount to subversion.
"When the extreme left-wing media, academics and activists broadcast self-evident lies demonizing their country and besmirching it by falsely accusing the Israel Defense Forces of engaging in war crimes, in the present climate that amounts to subversion," Leibler said.