Minister of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Gilad Erdan revealed a map of the network of ties between 42 of the most prominent Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) organizations in the world and their ties with terrorist organizations Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Dubbed the “Network of Hate,” the map was presented this week at the Global Coalition 4 Israel Forum (GC4I), an event focused on strategies for countering Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and anti-Israel delegitimization.
“The perpetrators of this hate-filled campaign, who derive their ideology from the PA and Hamas, are united in their goal of attacking Israel, and are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts. Under the guise of ‘civil activities’, a coordinated and financed network of organizations is led from Ramallah and Gaza, a quarter of which have links to terrorist organizations, including Hamas and the PFLP,” Erdan said on the opening night of the conference.
Erdan gave several examples of ties between BDS groups and Hamas and the PFLP, among them Palestinian NGOs such as Al-Haq, DCI-P and Addameer, whose senior leaders either hold or previously held active roles in the PFLP. Globally, Erdan pointed to ties between BDS South Africa and PFLP and Black September plane hijacker Lila Khaled who fundraises for the organization; ties between the United Kingdom based Palestinian Return Center, which he said promotes Hamas’ interests in Europe; and two other British NGOs, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and Friends of Al Aqsa, who have held meetings with senior Hamas figures in the Gaza Strip and recently held a demonstration in front of Downing 10 in support of Hamas’ recent “March of Return” campaign.
Erdan said the Ministry’s research showed that BDS organizations are interconnected and operate together as an integral network directed from Ramallah and the BDS National Committee (BNC). He said the Palestinian Authority has been a long-time advocate for boycotting Israel, officially adopting the principles of the boycott movement in its Palestinian National Council last May.
“The relationship between terrorist organizations and the BDS movement has never been closer, ideologically or operationally. I will continue to go after the perpetrators of this anti-Semitic hate campaign stemming from Gaza and Ramallah,” Erdan said.
Erdan added that while there have been several successes in the fight against BDS, including anti-boycott legislation already been passed in 25 US states, and legal action against boycott activity in Europe, the Ministry has has identified strategic changes with the movement now both lobbying radical parliamentarians on both the Left and the Right, and aiming to target Israel’s defence industries. The opening of the first branch of the BNC this year in India may be part of the strategic goal of the boycott movement against Israel’s arms trade, Erdan said.
The Ministry’s Director General, Sima Vaknin Gill, told attendees that Israel was gaining the upper hand against the movement, but it would take time until BDS is defeated.
“We cannot defeat the boycott movement within two years, it will take a lot longer despite the positive change in trends,” Vaknin Gill said.
“We are ready to take the BDS movement on in every arena, they have been forced on the defensive,” the former military chief censor said. “We have superiority in intelligence, they no longer surprise us. We have developed innovative tools and capabilities in several disciplines from from intelligence, to field operations and civil diplomacy and we are developing a tool kit against the BDS organizations. We are taking the initiative.”
Vaknin Gill also noted the work of pro-Israel advocates, whom she called the ‘Blue Network’ saying they had helped turn the trend by “undermining the legal standing of the boycott organizations, undermining their reputation and attacking their sources of finance.”