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Israel recruiting senior manager to fight ‘cultural delegitimisation’

November 11, 2019 at 11:08 am

Demonstrators hold a placard urging the international community to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign [Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images]

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs is recruiting a senior manager in “cultural affairs”, as part of the government’s offensive against so-called “cultural delegitimization”, a reference to the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BSD) movement.

According to a report in Haaretz, the job involves the “development and management of projects that will promote Israel’s information initiatives, as well as developing public diplomacy based on the ministry’s strategy, with the objective of ‘bolstering Israel’s public image’”.

Since 2015, the Strategic Affairs Ministry has been charged by the Israeli government with leading the fight against the BDS campaign and Palestine solidarity activism globally. Under Minister Gilad Erdan, tens of millions of shekels have been spent on activities at home and overseas.

The new role also includes “working with the Intelligence department in the formation of a picture of the threats faced by Israel, including the responsibility for defining vital news items in relation to the cultural arena, according to priorities set by the person responsible for this area.”

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Haaretz noted that the ministry – which had a budget of 46 million shekels ($13 million) in 2018, “with another 50 million shekels contingent on execution” – has “diverted much of this amount to private bodies, in a nontransparent manner which is unusual for a government office.”

For its part, the Strategic Affairs Ministry has claimed that to identify the recipients of its funds would undermine the efforts being undertaken to fight BDS.

According to the job advertisement, candidates are not required to have knowledge in cultural areas, but should be able to analyse “threats hovering over specific targets” and “knowledge in the field of delegitimisation”.

The job description also states that “projects will be done in full collaboration with relevant government ministries, using critical and relevant data these ministries possess”, likely a reference to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has objected to being excluded from the fight against BDS.