This week, the Israeli Supreme Court upheld the government’s decision to expel Omar Shakir, an American citizen employed by the anti-Israel group Human Rights Watch, and an advocate of the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). The verdict has of course been condemned as undemocratic, an assault on free speech, and the like. But these condemnations are nonsensical, writes Ben-Dror Yemini:
Canada banned former British parliamentarian and vehement Israel-hater George Galloway; France banned Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, [a prominent Islamist and jihadist thinker]; Britain banned the American anti-gay protester Fred Phelps and his daughter . . . from entering the country, as well as Michael Savage, a far-right conservative radio host; the U.S. denied entry to the Filipina human rights activist Liza Maza who intended to attend a conference on American activity in her country; and recently, both the U.S. and Britain banned the entrance of Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the BDS movement.
It’s safe to assume that anti-Israeli elements will resume their usual drivel about damage to free speech, which is curious given that Shakir himself is an advocate of harming free speech. In 2015, Shakir signed a petition calling for a boycott of Muslims who dared accept the invitation of the Hartman Institute (a Jerusalem-based center for pluralistic Jewish thought and education) for an educational tour of Israel.
Every country has the right to deny entry to agitators, and there’s no country in the world that would allow a person who denies its right to exist enter its borders. This is true of Israel as well.