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  • Supporters of the 'BDS' movement protest outside the venue where the 2019 Eurovision song contest final is about to take place in Tel Aviv

    Supporters of the 'BDS' movement protest outside the venue where the 2019 Eurovision song contest final is about to take place in Tel Aviv | Photo: REUTERS

Published 13 June 2019

Israel’s national intelligence agency’s tricks against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement have been revealed.

Israeli government documents disclosed Wednesday have revealed that the national intelligence agency of Israel, Mossad, has collaborated over the past years with Israeli government through its Strategic Affairs Ministry, to sabotage the international pro-Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement on a global scale. 

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The Strategic Affairs Ministry led by Minister Gilad Erdan has been described as Israel’s “anti-BDS start-up,” and was behind the blacklist of 20 international BDS organizations. It also founded the “Concert corporation,” a private but partly government-controlled company to achieve online efforts to bar boycotts supporting Palestinians.

The company has received US$36 million in funding from the Israeli government along with the same amount in private contributions from pro-Israel groups and individual donors.

Erdan’s diaries reveal he met with the director of Mossad, Yossi Cohen to discuss “the struggle against the boycott.” Mossad had been several times accused in the past of backing up and assisting the government in countering BDS activities, but today’s exposure is evidence of the intelligence agency’s involvement.

The diaries were obtained as part of an Israeli Freedom of Information Act request by advocacy organization Hatzlaha movement which demanded the same information from all ministers, deputy ministers and ministry directors-general. In doing so, the advocacy organization made Erdan’s diaries publicly available. The Strategic Affairs Ministry responded by telling Haaretz the meeting was just a “review.”

The diaries also reveal that the minister met with a number of pro-Israeli Jewish organizations including the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress and the U.S. Reform Movement.

Away from diplomatic centers, the BDS movement has scored major victories that threaten Israel's normalization of the occupation of Palestine through economic pressure and increasing cultural and academic isolation.

The non-violent movement, founded in 2005 by 170 Palestinian unions, political parties, refugee networks, and women organizations, among others, has gained such renown that it was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize last year. 

Inspired by South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, BDS calls for non-violent pressure on Israel through boycotting any organization linked to Israel, withdrawing investment from Israeli companies, and sanctioning the county until Israel: 1) recognizes the right of Palestinian refugees to return, 2) ends the military occupation of Palestine, and 3) ends the apartheid regime by recognizing Palestinian's equal rights.

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