TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Just a few months after Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry released a full list of organizations whose activists will be barred from entering Israel for advancing the cause of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement, Jewish-American activist and CODEPINK national co-director Ariel Gold was denied entry and then deported from Israel at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv Monday.
“After seven hours of detention, CODEPINK national co-director Ariel Gold was deported from Ben Gurion airport as she arrived into the country. She was deported despite having obtained a visa in advance of her visit,” reads a press release statement by human-rights NGO CODEPINK.
In a post on her Facebook page, Gold stated, “I am in the Tel Aviv airport getting deported. I got a visa in advance to enter the country but they are refusing to honor it and are deporting me now.”
An hour later Gold tweeted that she believes she was deported because of advancing the cause of human rights for Palestinians.
Around a month ago I got a visa from the Israeli Consulate in NYC. Today as I arrived in Tel Aviv they refused to honor it and deported me. Their reason: my activism for Palestinian human rights.”
“The rules of the game have changed”
Gold was indeed issued a student visa in order to attend a Jewish studies program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. However, after Israeli authorities were notified of her arrival at Ben Gurion, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri reviewed her visa then immediately cancelled it, accusing Gold of lying about why she requested the visa and ultimately preventing her entry into the country — which claims to be a homeland for all Jews.
Deri said of the situation:
I am again using my authority to prevent the entry into Israel of a woman who came to act against Israel and call for its boycott. This is a Jew who tried to abuse this fact. Those boycott activists must understand that the rules of the game have changed. They will no longer be allowed to enter the country to harm the state and its residents.”
«Gold has distributed videos on social networks, in which she harasses IDF soldiers and Border Police officers in Hebron, accusing the soldiers of apartheid and oppression, and that their actions do not conform to Jewish values,» wrote Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who recommended preventing the activist from entering into Israel. Erdan’s recommendation also states that «Gold is not only an activist, but aggressively active in Israel and abroad.»
As Haaretz presented Gold’s explanation:
She made sure to obtain an entry visa prior to boarding the flight to Israel due to a demand by authorities that was made the last time she visited Israel. She also presented to Haaretz the form she signed during her previous visit. In the form, which was produced by the Population Authority, Gold declared that she would only enter Israel with an approved visa.”
BDS goals and Israeli hostility to all who support them
According to CODEPINK, Gold was questioned about her support for BDS repeatedly while detained in Israel’s airport.
According to its website, the BDS movement is “a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.” The movement was first launched in 2005, inspired by the successful South African anti-apartheid movement.
The three major goals of BDS are:
- Ending Israel’s occupation and colonization of all Arab lands as well as dismantling the wall that cuts Palestine off from the outside world.
- Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.
- Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
Gabi Lasky, Gold’s attorney, added that she was questioned about her relationship with a Palestinian activist, Issa Amro.
Gold said in her press release:
Israel claims to be a democratic country and a place where diaspora Jews are not only welcomed, but encouraged to visit. Yet, more and more, the state’s repressive policies, have which always been applied to Palestinians, are being applied to anyone, even Jews, who are critical of occupation and apartheid. The goal of denying me and others entry is to obstruct our relationships with Palestinians on the ground, and with their peaceful movement for freedom and equal rights. As a result, Israel is increasingly isolating itself as a pariah state.”
Minister Erdan insists:
The policy I have set is clear: Whoever consistently acts to boycott Israel will not enter here. The rules have changed, and the State of Israel will not restrain itself against those who try to harm it.»
Erdan was quick to tweet about the situation:
Translation: Tonight, the extremist boycott of Ariel Gould was prevented from entering Israel. The policy I have made clear: those who work to boycott Israel and come here to harm – will not enter the country. The rules have changed, and the state of Israel will not tblig against someone who is trying to harm her.
CODEPINK and Gold have taken to social media to respond to the situation and Erdan’s remarks.
The move to prevent Gold from entering Israel comes following a law introduced in May 2017, forbidding visas to foreign nationals calling for boycotts of Israel or illegal Israeli settlements — whether economic, cultural, or academic. In June, Erdan attempted to link the BDS campaign with terrorism in an effort to crack down on the movement.
Israel published a blacklist of 22 international NGOs “whose employees and/or members are banned from entering Israel due to their alleged support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.” CODEPINK is on that list.
Gold and CODE PINK are urging their supporters to sign their petition “calling on influential U.S. Senators [Chuck] Schumer and [Ben] Cardin to denounce [the] new Israeli ban on groups support the nonviolent BDS Campaign for Palestinian rights.”
Top Photo | Ariel Gold in Israel’s Tel Aviv airport.
Emma Fiala is MPN’s Editorial Assistant and social media guru. She is also a documentary photographer, mom of two, and an independent journalist. Her stories have been featured on MintPress News, the Anti-Media, Media Roots, Zero Hedge, the Mind Unleashed and Steemit. Find her on Twitter.