Photo credit: Andrew E. Larsen via Flickr
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 the militants of the EAPPI. Who is it !
Early in the morning of March 7, 2022, Im Tirzu uploaded a video to Facebook Live showing three EAPPI activists on a path taken by school children in Hebron. The organization and its parent group, the World Council of Churches (WCC) are not registered in Israel and are not defined as organizations in Israel. Therefore, they do not fall under any category in the law governing organizations promoting boycotts. However, anyone wearing their logo vest enters Israel under false pretenses, posing as tourists but actually working to delegitimize the country. If it was known what they would do, they could be prevented from entering the country based on an amendment to Israel’s entry law which states:
A visa and license of any kind will not be granted to a person who is not an Israeli citizen or holder of a permanent residence permit in the State of Israel, if he, the organization or the organization for which he works has knowingly published any of the following – (1) a public call for a boycott of the State of Israel, as defined in the Law for the Prevention of Offenses against the State of Israel Israel through a boycott, 2011, or has pledged to participate in such a boycott.
EAPPI refers to the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel. On their website, they clearly state that they work with anti-Israel NGOs such 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 see as human rights abuses against Palestinians by Israel, and then they serve as advocates in their country of origin to promote the delegitimization of the Jewish state.
And there they were, walking freely through Hebron as if they really belonged there. Screenshots refer to the Im Tirzu Facebook Live video.
Yehuda Sharabani, project director for Im Tirzu, said EAPPI activists entered Israel from the moment it opened the doors to tourists. Technically, they cannot be prevented from entering, as mentioned above. However, if they are caught committing an act that could be clearly defined as anti-Israeli, they could be apprehended and deported.
Sharabani told me that the police had been informed of the presence of these militants but soon after the call was cancelled. Indeed, the activists apparently alerted someone from their organization that they were being filmed and Zidan Sharabati, a B’Tselem activist, came to the scene and began filming the Im Tirzu videographer. He then took the EAPPI activists to a playground, apparently ready with his camera to film the police apprehending the three youths. The video would then have been uploaded to social media to become a few more bytes in the virtual war against Israel.
The EAPPI and the COE clearly support the boycott against Israel even though they like to say that is not the case:
The boycott of communities in Area C of Judea and Samaria is clearly a violation of Israel’s anti-boycott law. It is also a violation of US anti-boycott laws in states that have legislated it. Evidence supporting the illegality of the settlement boycott can be found in the current controversy involving Unilever, the company that includes Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream company that decided not to renew the Israeli franchise because their ice cream is sold in shops in Judea and Samaria.
It is dishonest to claim that something is illegal when the legality is currently under debate, as is the issue of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. In fact, if the matter were to be considered in court, it may be ruled perfectly legal. This is the question that makes the action brought before an American court by Avi Zinger so sensitive. If the lawsuit against a French rail company hasn’t helped the Palestinians in their battle to have East Jerusalem declared illegally occupied by Israel, perhaps Zinger’s lawsuit will put the nail in the coffin regarding the alleged illegality of the settlements. ?
Im Tirzu’s Sharabani said that EAPPI activists incite anti-Semitic statements against the IDF and the Jewish state, and added:
I call on the Government of Israel and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to use all measures at their disposal to prevent their entry into the country. Policy makers around the world rely on the reports they release after spending time in the PA.
As the narrator of the video said, the tour guides still don’t have enough tourists to regenerate their lost income during the two years of Corona and these people show up at passport control as if they were legitimate tourists but actually enter the country for the purpose of undermining it.
The Israeli government must wake up to their destructive influence, especially today when it becomes clear that many pro-Israel Christians are influenced by lies such as the spread of the WCC and EAPPI.