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This secretive report exposes the vacuum at the heart of Israel’s war against BDS

Image of the anti-BDS meeting at the UN headquarters on 30 March 2017 [WorldJewishCong/Twitter]
Image of the anti-BDS meeting at the UN headquarters on 30 March 2017 [WorldJewishCong/Twitter]

A leaked report last month revealed the lengths to which Israel is going to undermine and sabotage the Palestine solidarity movement. The report, a copy of which has been obtained by The Electronic Intifada, was authored jointly by influential Israeli think tank the Reut Institute and US pro-Israel group the Anti-Defamation League.

Reut was founded by Gidi Grinstein, once an advisor to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The new report begins with an endorsement from the director of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, the government department in charge of Israel’s war against the boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. “The correlation between the ministry’s mode of operation” and the report, she writes, “is very high.”

The document was not intended for public consumption. Its existence was first revealed in February when the Jewish Daily Forward reported some of its contents. The US paper said that Reut and the ADL were “only circulating print copies of the report” among selected pro-Israel operatives, and that the newspaper had received it on condition that it not be published in its entirety.

Read: BBC smears BDS, fails to disclose interviewee’s Israel advocacy role

Nonetheless we are now able to read it in full. Its contents are revealing.

It is titled “The Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy” and subtitled “The Frustrating 20x Question: Why is it Still Growing?” Dive into the report itself and the jargon-like “20x question” is explained. Why, it asks, is the BDS movement still growing and winning “significant successes” despite Israel and its supporters spending 20 times as much in fighting it in terms of money and resources than in 2010?

The “20x question” is only one of many such vacuous jargon phrases which blight the report. Indeed, the description “report” is not actually used by the authors; they go instead with “joint Strategic Framework”. The pro-Israel network needs to “improve its own adaptive capacity.” Israel is perceived negatively due to an “unfavourable Zeitgeist.” The anti-Israel network is understood through a “Long-Tail Model.” The list of gibberish goes on.

Read: Israeli study shows law to ban BDS ‘unreliable’

Why do such anti-Palestinian groups rely so much on such corporate-speak? First of all, it is simple self-interest. They want to improve their own image and guarantee their own jobs. There are tens of millions of dollars of anti-BDS money sloshing about. The anti-BDS ministry, overseen by Gilad Erdan, had a budget of $45 million in 2016. And that’s not even accounting for privately-donated anti-BDS money from anti-Palestinian billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban. Dazzling dim-witted anti-BDS funders and civil servants with hackneyed jargon seems to be a lucrative niche, as Reut and the ADL have discovered.

Furthermore, they do it simply because the reality is that they have no positive suggestions for combating BDS effectively, not least because they have neither moral nor legal right on their side. As the report itself admits, “results remain elusive”, despite the millions spent fighting the movement. Grinstein himself, at an anti-BDS conference held by Israel in New York last month, admitted that it is winning.

“The BDS movement is still active and still strong,” conceded Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon at the same event. “Every day, academic and religious groups, student unions and investment firms are all falling prey to boycott calls.” And these successes keep coming, despite Israel’s attempt to have legislatures and courts in the western world ban BDS through the back door.

Read: The next phase in the war on BDS

Erdan’s ministry is also involved in a campaign of dirty tricks and “black ops”. Back in 2010, Grinstein and Reut advocated that Israeli government agencies and spy services should be “attacking” BDS and aiming to “sabotage” the Palestine solidarity movement. Years later, we can see anti-Palestinian strategies in place such as a campaign of death threats and harassment against Palestinian lawyers in The Hague; cyberattacks on Palestine news and activist websites; and Israel-funded “infiltrators” being sent onto British university campuses to provoke unrest. The new report — sorry, “Strategic Framework” — again calls for hard core “deligitimisers” to be handled “uncompromisingly” and “covertly”. In many other circumstances such threatening language would be grounds for the police to take action against those using it, but these are pro-Israel lobbyists, so they get away with it.

With Israel’s war against BDS getting ever more desperate, we can expect it to get more and more extreme. As long as Israel faces no consequences from Western governments for its human rights violations and war crimes, such dirty tricks campaigns will only intensify.

The Reut-ADL report shows us that while Israel’s global anti-Palestinian war is still dangerous, it has nothing new to propose. However, the lobbyists can’t see the wood for the trees; their loyalty to the rogue Zionist state blinds them to the reality that the only way to bring BDS to an end is for Israel to halt its abuses against Palestinians; end its brutal military occupation; allow refugees to return to their land; and grant full equality to all citizens. All of these are required by international laws and conventions; BDS activists are not asking for anything unsavoury or illegal, unlike their opponents in Reut, the ADL and their ilk, which tells us a lot about the people involved on both sides.

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  • Fasdunkle

    Standard drivel from Asa.

  • Michael Abramov

    ‘the only way to bring BDS to an end is for Israel to halt its abuses against Palestinians; end its brutal military occupation; allow refugees to return to their land; and grant full equality to all citizens’.

    This type of idealism is typical of the left-wing. No mention of Israel demanding an end to the ‘ad-hoc’ stabbings of innocent citizens. No mention of the ‘ad-hoc’ shelling of southern Israeli towns. No mention of the compensation the Arab states owing compensation to the Jews that were cleaned out of their money and possessions leaving Arab lands 65 years ago. You guys are always supporting the underdog without allowing for the ‘balance’ of an argument.

    OK Asa. Give the Arabs the right-of return. Will that satisfy them? No. I will tell you why. The reason is because the Arabs want everything back even though they started the wars in the first place. They lost in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973. They are just bad losers.

    The reason why they are bad losers is because over the last 1,500 years they have lost very few wars. Then in 1947 a piece of land the size of Wales is granted to the Jewish people and by 1948 the Arabs thought they could just march through and regain the land for themselves. Had they done so, there still would not be a Palestine because Syria and Egypt would have carved up the land for themselves. The Jews would have kicked out and the world would not have given a toss. Would the Palestinians be moaning about their loss? No. the reason is that they would be living in a Judenfrei land which this is all about.

    Food for thought. Why did the Jews in 1945 having lost family, their homes, their statehood and just get on with life having survived immense physical and emotional truamas, but the Arabs in 1948 dumped themselves in refugee camps and have been there ever since.

    Answer my question…somebody?

    • Alan Roberts

      You’re one of the terminally deluded. Israel is on Palestinian land, not vice versa. Israel’s stock in the world is taking a deep down-turn as evidence of Israeli atrocities against its native people is exposed by social media. Being labelled a Zionist will soon have the same connotation as being labelled a Nazi. And for good reason.

      • Fasdunkle

        It will certainly have those connotations in anti-semitic circles

      • Michael Abramov

        ‘Being labelled a Zionist will soon have the same connotation as being labelled a Nazi. And for good reason.’

        Mr. Roberts, it is comments like this that expose the hidden aggression by the pro-Palestine left-wing lobby. You have not addressed any of my points in my rebuttal against Asa Winstanley. Does this mean that you do not have the knowledge or the capacity to comment?

        At what point in my statement did I condone the occupation of the West Bank or the old Palestine? None. I as a Zionist never wanted to have to stand-up to the diatribe of hatred towards the Jewish homeland, but I am left with no option.

        Now, here is my question to you.

        Comparing Zionists to Nazis is the lowest common denominator. There are no concentration camps in Israel. The Israeli Arabs are exempt from army service. The gay Arabs are free to mix and congregate publicly. Arabs have representation in the Knesset. There are Arab schools in Israel that operate outside of the curriculum where Arabic is the first language. So, where does comparing Zionism to the Nazi regime validate your comments?

        As for the West bank, I am not happy that the Likud Party have commandeered land to build homes for the Israelis. for two reasons. The first is because at some stage Israel may well have to give up part or all of the West bank in exchange for a peace deal. The second is because the peace deal, giving legitimacy to the Shia PA, will result in Sunni Hamas attacking the West Bank with the aid of Hezbollah resulting in yet another humanitarian crisis. Who will be to blame? Israel.

        It appears that in your world of left-wing politics, the Palestinians are blamed for nothing and are the perpetual victims.

    • Sharleen Targon

      The goyim know and we all know your talmud as well as your land theft lies

  • Maria Dowler

    BDS is winning. There is NOTHING israel or it’s minions can do to stop it. The boycott has extended beyond activists, ordinary people all over the world know now what Israel is doing and they DONT LIKE IT. The only way israel will succeed is to employ a Mossad agent to push every shopping cart In the world. :))