From Spinoza to Vilkomerson, exclusion from the Jewish community based on beliefs has a long history.
“But the formality of this step — banning outright leaders and key members of a Jewish organization — is yet further concrete evidence of what has been apparent for some time: that even as the Israeli government makes crystal-clear its commitment to having as few non-Jews as possible within its borders, it is also becoming increasingly blatant about possessing criteria for the types of Jews it considers kosher.”
— Natasha Roth
The big news concerning Israel’s fight against the movement for Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions this week is the publication of an Israeli government blacklist of 20 organizations. Notable on the list is the American Jewish group, Jewish Voice for Peace.
Rebecca Vilkomerson, the head of the organization, wrote Monday that “now, contrary to any democratic norm, there’s to be a political litmus test for entering the country.”
It may come as a surprise to some that Jews are actually being banned in an organized and institutional manner — from entering Israel — the Jewish state. But scrutiny of Jewish history reveals how logical this is. They are simply considered “the wrong kind of Jews,” as Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann told Lord Balfour. And the “wrong kind of Jews” can be banned. The Jewish tradition of such societal expulsion of Jews is known in Hebrew as “herem,” the term also applied for “boycott.”
Indeed, Israel seems to have no moral qualms about banning not only Jews but those who have historically helped them — the American Friends Service Committee, which was also on the blacklist — whilst inviting Nazi-affiliates, if they support the goals of the Jewish State. Natasha Roth wrote about this on Monday, “Why has Israel banned Jewish leftists but not members of Nazi-linked groups?”