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Israeli study shows law to ban BDS 'unreliable'

A recent Israeli study showed that last month's Knesset decision to pass a law that denies entry visas to activists boycotting or calling for the boycott of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank was "unreliable", Al Jazeera reported on Friday.

The Israeli Knesset last month passed the law in order to battle the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has found growing support in Europe and the United States in recent years.

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The study, which was conducted by Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies, stated four reasons why it considered the law unreliable. The first is that it portrays Israel to the international community as a state that is hostile to anyone against illegal settlement activity and this reflects an image that Israel is not a democratic state.

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According to the study, the second reason why the law was counter-productive is that Israel's efforts among pro-Israeli advocates in the confrontation with BDS is more reliable than this law, mainly among university students, young politicians, journalists, bloggers, businessmen and decision-makers.

The third reason is that the premise of the law is boycotting the boycotters and this weakens the position of the pro-Israeli camp which runs discussions with and against the BDS.

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The fourth reason is that the law limits the choices of Israel's friends around the world because it divides the people into pro or anti-Israel camps, and this undermines their efforts to defend Israel the way they feel appropriate.

In addition, the study pointed out that the strategic flaw of the law is that it only targets the critics of the policy of the current Israeli government, not those who even reject the idea of Israel's existence. This narrows the margin given to the pro-Israeli camp around the world, according to the study.

The study concluded that Israel should call for liberal Jews around the world to pay as much effort as possible to fight the BDS, as well as to propose a new law that expands Israel's long-term strategies, review previous laws and concentrate on efforts that delegitimise BDS without opening new battlefields on the international arena.

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