Israel's BDS Blacklist: Banning AMP Is an Admission of Failure

(WASHINGTON, DC 1/9/2018)—Over the weekend, the Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry issued a blacklist, banning American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), along with 19 other justice-seeking organizations, from entry into Palestine/Israel, over our support for the popular nonviolent boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. 

AMP wears this ban as a badge of honor and as recognition of our success in exposing Israel as a brutal apartheid regime. We further view the blacklist as an admission of failure to suppress the growing reach of BDS. For over twelve years, AMP has been at the forefront of this campaign through our grassroots organizing work with various student groups, AMP chapters, mosques, and a broad coalition of Palestine solidarity activists.
Above all, we remain steadfast and committed to advocating for the rights of Palestinians, and refuse to be bullied by such draconian tactics. In fact, this absurd ban reinforces our argument that Israel is far from being a democratic state. Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, including hundreds of children, languish in Israeli prisons today because they dared to oppose the military occupation and settler-colonization of their land. 
Israel’s discriminatory practice of banning people from entry to punish political dissent is also nothing new. In addition to prohibiting millions of Palestinian refugees from returning to their homeland, we have seen dozens of cases of American Muslims, Arabs, and pro-Palestinian activists—including Christians and Jews—being detained and turned away at the border. Israel has repeatedly denied American citizens the right to visit their loved ones in Palestine, subjected them to interrogation and unwarranted searches, and questioned them about their political views. 

Finally, this blacklist is yet another desperate attempt by Israel to repress international solidarity for Palestinian rights. Over the last year, we witnessed the same failed tactics in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey when pro-Israel groups created a political litmus test for recipients of humanitarian relief. Campaigns to attack and smear Palestinian scholars and student activists have also backfired with thousands of supporters pushing back. Even Trump’s recent decision to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was met with near universal criticism with the U.N. overwhelmingly rejecting his Declaration. 

Indeed, the more Israel continues to behave as a bully, criminalizes nonviolent political dissent, and threatens activists in Palestine and around the world, the more it reveals its true anti-democratic, oppressive character. 

AMP is proud to be among the first U.S. organizations to respond to the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions. We have helped lead the efforts in communities across the country and witnessed firsthand its growth on college campuses and mosques. 

No ban will ever shake our determination to end the occupation and U.S. support for Israel’s crimes. On the contrary, it will make us exponentially more determined to advocate for justice in Palestine. In the face of this latest assault on free speech—and as Israel continues its policies of land annexation and ethnic cleansing—we invite you to stand with AMPsupport our workfind our chapters, and become a member today.