Israeli airport authorities deny entry to BDS activist for first time



The Terminal 3 arrivals halls at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport. Credit: George Dement via Wikimedia Commons.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to Israel refused entry to an activist with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement Monday, the first such case since the Israeli government introduced a bill to that effect in November.

Isabel Phiri, a Malawian member of the World Council of Churches and a known BDS activist, was stopped by Ben Gurion International Airport authorities while trying to enter Israel on a tourist visa.

According to reports, Phiri's passport was flagged and Population and Immigration Authority officials at the airport contacted the Interior Ministry for instructions. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan jointly head Israel's public diplomacy efforts against the BDS movement.

Deri instructed airport authorities to deny Phiri's entry, effectively setting a precedent for barring entry to individuals who promote economic, cultural, and academic boycotts against Israel.

"We will continue to prevent BDS activists from entering, as their purpose is to undermine Israel by gathering information and presenting it in a distorted and false manner. BDS activists belong outside the country, and we will continue to pursue the measures at our disposal to prevent them from entering Israel," Erdan said.

Posted on December 6, 2016 .