RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — A Chilean Palestinian official is urging his country to refuse entry to Israeli tourists after he was barred from entering the Jewish state.
Anuar Majluf, executive director of the Palestinian Federation of Chile and a prominent BDS, or boycott, divestment and sanctions, movement activist, was refused entry by the government of Israel on April 10 when he arrived there leading an annual Easter pilgrimage.
“The Chilean government should act reciprocally and refuse entry to Israeli citizens who come as tourists to Chile. If Israel knew that its repressive actions and laws have consequences, it would be much less likely to enact them,” he said.
“As Chile allows the free entry and passage of Israeli citizens, it is unacceptable that Israel openly violates the rights of Chilean citizens,” said Chilean Senator Eugenio Tuma, who is of Arab descent. His statement was then echoed by two other congressmen.
Majluf publicly promotes boycotts against the State of Israel and acts to undermine the bilateral relations between Israel and Chile, with an emphasis on economic relations and trade.
“Anuar Majluf is a major boycott activist whose organization is trying to significantly harm the State of Israel and his attempt to enter the country is intended for this purpose,” Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan said.
The move came after the Knesset passed a law that enables the Interior Ministry to refuse entry and residency visas to non-Israelis if they have “issued a public call” to boycott Israel – including settlements in the West Bank – or have stated their intention to participate in a boycott.
In February, a senior official of an entity tied to the Chilean government threatened to expel Israeli tourists from hostels in the country after a group was removed from a national park.
One month before, a young Jewish and gay activist wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the flag of Israel was attacked at a Santiago park and suffered several razor cuts perpetrated by three men who carried neo-Nazi symbols.
Chile is home to some 15,000 Jews. The country is also believed to host the largest Palestinian community outside of the Arab world, with more than 300,000 members.