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Middle East Israel to strip benefits from own BDS-supporting citizens

ISRAEL is planning to draw up a blacklist of its own citizens and domestic activist groups that support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign so that it can strip them them of benefits and tax credits.

The country already has a list of international groups and activists which it has banned from entering because they oppose its brutal treatment of the Palestinians.

But Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon is set to approve in the coming days new regulations that extend the anti-BDS rules to citizens of Israel itself.

Israel’s anti-BDS laws don’t distinguish between calls to boycott the state of Israel itself or its settlements in the West Bank, which clearly violate international law.

Haaretz’s sources in the Strategic Affairs Ministry told it that the focus would be on the bigger campaign groups and most visible activists, particularly people who head up organisations deemed to be insufficiently supportive of the government.

Those on the blacklist would be blocked from receiving benefits, being hired for government jobs, and groups would be banned from receiving government contracts.

Mr Kahlon said last year that Israelis who donate to Amnesty International would not be able to deduct contributions from their tax.

Amnesty provoked his ire with a campaign documenting 50 years of Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the savage treatment meted out by Israeli occupation forces to Palestinians.

• People demonstrated in Tel Aviv today to call for corruption-mired “crime minister” Benjamin Netanyahu to quit. An opinion poll showed that nearly half of Israelis think the extensive graft allegations against him are true.

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