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Jeremy Corbyn unlikely to be banned as Israel issues boycott blacklist

Labour leader is patron of group hit by Israeli authorities' new crackdown on BDS

    Jeremy Corbyn is a prominent supporter of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
    Jeremy Corbyn is a prominent supporter of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign

    Jeremy Corbyn is unlikely to be banned from visiting Israel under anti-boycott laws despite remaining as a patron of a pro-boycott group, the JC has learned.

    Activists from anti-Israel organisations including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, of which the Labour leader is a leading supporter, will be stopped from entering the country as part of its efforts to combat the BDS campaign.

    A blacklist of more than 20 groups which have promoted a boycott was published yesterday. Among the British-based groups to be banned are the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), War on Want, and Friends of al-Aqsa. 

    It was unclear whether the ban would automatically apply to senior figures in the groups, with Israeli media speculating that “leading members” could be denied entry.

    But asked about Mr Corbyn’s position, a spokesman from the Ministry of Strategic Affairs told the JC the ban would only apply to those who have demonstrated “ongoing, consistent and significant” action towards boycotts.

    Mr Corbyn is a long-standing patron of the PSC, but does not support a “comprehensive or blanket boycott” or Israel.

    The Israeli ministry spokesman said today: “The regulation applies only to individuals who demonstrate ongoing, consistent, and significant action to promote the boycott against the State of Israel.

    “Any decision on the matter will be subject to the external and security considerations of the State of Israel, with each case being judged on its own merits.”

    Gilad Erdan, the Strategic Affairs Minister, said the move to ban boycotters signified Israel moving from “defence to offence”.

    Last month, Mr Erdan told a conference in Brussels that Israel could see “antisemitic views in many of the leadership of the current Labour Party” in Britain.

    Following a row over a tweet from a senior Labour frontbench figure last month seemingly promoting a boycott, a Labour spokesman said Mr Corbyn “does not support BDS” but does back “targeted action aimed at illegal settlements in occupied territory”.

    The Labour leader would, it is believed, buy Israeli goods.

    He has declined a number of invitations to travel to Israel since becoming Leader of the Opposition.

    Hugh Lanning, the PSC chairman and an ally of Mr Corbyn, was deported from Israel last year as a result of the ban on boycott activists.

    This article has been amended to remove the incorrect statement that Ben Jamal, the director of PSC, was detained while travelling through Ben Gurion Airport 

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