Israel instituted a travel ban on 20 worldwide organizations promoting a campaign to boycott the country over its policies toward Palestine.
The Jewish Voice for Peace, one of two American organizations listed, shared a statement condemning the ban as an attempt to "punish us for a principled political stance".
According to Israeli daily Haaretz, 20 organizations, including 11 European and 6 US groups, have been included in the ban due to their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Israel announced the list of 20 foreign organizations whose representatives are to be banned from entering Israel because they advocate for a boycott of Israel based on its treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories.
Asad Rehman, executive director of War on Want, said the blacklist is "a desperate attempt to silence a growing movement that is holding Israel to account for its systematic abuse of Palestinian rights, and persistent violations of global law".
"As the minister in charge of the Israel Entry Law, I made it perfectly clear that I would use my authority to prevent individuals and representatives of groups whose sole goal is to harm Israel and its security, from entering its borders". It said "central figures in key boycott organizations" risked being prevented entry.
In the official statement issued with the blacklist, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan explained, "We have moved from defense to attack". "The creation of this list is another step in our struggle against the incitement and lies of the boycott organizations". "These people are trying to take advantage of the law and our hospitality in order to act against and defame Israel", he said. While its impact has been financially negligible and the campaign has been defied by many, it has created an image problem for Israel by drawing support from high-profile names including the pop singer Lorde, who recently canceled a scheduled performance.
Other than BDS South Africa and BDS Chile, the groups named on the list are located in Europe and North America.
The group, together with the Friends Service Council, a British Quaker organisation, won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 for assisting Second World War refugees, primarily Jews.
Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which was also included in the list, said Israel's move was "disconcerting but not surprising". Yet BDS South Africa and its broader campaign continues to enjoy the patronage of the ruling African National Congress, which voted at its national conference last month to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to the status of a "liaison office", as a "practical expression of our support to the oppressed people of Palestine".
The project will work to counter BDS pressure applied to artists, performers, and commercial enterprises not to engage with Israel. Israel has also enjoyed new economic partnerships and diplomatic ties despite calls for boycotts and it has become a top destination for worldwide sporting and cultural events.