RELIGION

Israel steps up battle against boycott movement

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 file photo, French demonstrators and supporters of Palestinians hold a placard with the word "Boycott" during a demonstration in Paris, France. Israel has stepped up its battle against international critics with a new law that would bar entry to supporters of an international boycott movement against the Jewish state. The BDS movement advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel in what its supporters say is a nonviolent way to promote the Palestinian struggle for independence. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, File)

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 file photo, French demonstrators and supporters of Palestinians hold a placard with the word "Boycott" during a demonstration in Paris, France. Israel has stepped up its battle against international critics with a new law that would bar entry to supporters of an international boycott movement against the Jewish state. The BDS movement advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel in what its supporters say is a nonviolent way to promote the Palestinian struggle for independence. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, File)  (The Associated Press)

Israel has stepped up its battle against international critics with a new law that would bar entry to supporters of an international boycott movement against the Jewish state.

The measure drew fierce criticism Tuesday from dovish activist groups who condemned it as the latest in a series of steps to silence critics. Officials, meanwhile, struggled to explain how it would be enforced.

The BDS movement advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel in what its supporters say is a nonviolent way to promote the Palestinian struggle for independence.

But Israel says the campaign goes beyond Israel's occupation of lands claimed by the Palestinians and masks a deeper aim of delegitimizing or even destroying the country.