Let’s welcome the first post-Corona tourists to Israel!
Who are among the first tourists to come to Israel and take advantage of the door that finally opened after the Corona Pandemic? Why, none other than EAPPI activists. That’s who!
Early morning on 7 March 2022, Im Tirzu put up a video on Facebook Live showing three EAPPI activists on a path taken by school kids in Hebron. The organization, and its parent group, the World Council of Churches (WCC) are not registered in Israel nor are they defined as organizations in Israel. Therefore, they do not fall under any category in the law governing organizations promoting boycott. However, anyone wearing their logo-vests enter Israel under false pretences, pretending to be tourists but actually working for the delegitimization of the country. Were it known what they would be doing, they could be prevented from entering the country based upon an amendment to the Israeli Entry Law that states:
A visa and license of any kind shall not be granted to a person who is not an Israeli citizen or a holder of a permanent residence permit in the State of Israel, if he, the organization or body for which he works knowingly published one of the following – (1) a public call for a boycott of the State of Israel, as defined in the Law for the Prevention of Harm to the State of Israel through a Boycott, 2011, or undertook to participate in such a boycott.
EAPPI refers to the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel. On their website, they clearly state they work with such anti-Israeli NGOs as B’Tselem, Machsom Watch and Breaking the Silence. They spend time in parts of the Palestinian Authority (PA) where they can document what they consider human rights abuses against Palestinians on the part of Israel and then they serve as advocates in their home countries promoting delegitimization of the Jewish state.
And there they were, walking around freely in Hebron as if they actually belong there. The screenshots link to the Im Tirzu Facebook Live video.
Yehuda Sharabani, Project Director for Im Tirzu, said that EAPPI activists have been entering Israel from the moment she opened the gates to tourists. Technically, they cannot be prevented from entering, as mentioned above. However, if they are caught while committing an act that could clearly be defined as anti-Israeli, they could be apprehended and deported.
Sharabani told me that the police were notified about the presence of these activists but shorty after, the call was cancelled. That was because the activists apparently alerted someone in their organization that they were being filmed and Zidan Sharabati, a B’Tselem activist, came to the site and began to film the Im Tirzu videographer. He then took the EAPPI activists into a playground, apparently ready with his camera to film the police apprehending the three young people. The video then would have been uploaded to the social media to become another few bytes in the virtual war against Israel.
The EAPPI and the WCC clearly support boycott against Israel even if they like to say that they do not:
Boycotting of communities in Area C of Judea-Samaria is clearly an infringement of Israel’s Anti-Boycott Law. It is also an infringement of American anti-boycott laws in states that have so legislated. Evidence supporting the illegality of boycotting the settlements is found in the current controversy involving Unilever, the company that includes Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream firm that has decided not to renew the Israeli franchise because their ice cream is being sold in shops in Judea-Samaria.
It is disingenuous to make the claim that something is illegal when the legality is actually under debate, as the issue of Israeli communities in Judea-Samaria are. In fact, were the issue to actually be tested in a court of law, it is possible that they will be found to be perfectly legal. That is the issue that makes the suit brought before an American court by Avi Zinger so sensitive. If the suit against a French rail company did not help the Palestinians in their battle to have East Jerusalem declared illegally occupied by Israel, perhaps the suit by Zinger will put the nail in the coffin regarding the supposed illegality of the settlements?
Sharabani of Im Tirzu said that EAPPI activists incite antisemitic pronouncements against the IDF and the Jewish state, and added:
I call on the government of Israel and the Foreign Ministry to use all measures at their disposal to prevent their entrance into the country. Policy makers around the world rely on the reports they spread after having spent time in the PA.
As the narrator in the video said, tour guides still do not have enough tourists to regenerate their incomes lost during the two years of Corona and these people present themselves at passport control as if they are legitimate tourists but actually enter the country with the goal of undermining her.
The Israeli government needs to wake up to their destructive influence, especially today, when it is becoming clear that many pro-Israeli Christians are being influenced by lies such as the WCC and EAPPI spread.