Israel Declares War on BDS Activism
By Stephen Lendman – Israel formed a witch-hunt task force to identify, hunt down, arrest, and deport opponents of its apartheid viciousness – mainly BDS supporters and members.
In a statement released last Sunday, police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri, Israeli Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri and Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan said “(w)e must not allow BDS activists to enter the state of Israel.” Others located in the country or Occupied Palestine must be located and deported, they added.
“This is a necessary step, given the malicious intentions of these activists to delegitimize and spread lies and distortions about the reality in our region.”
“(H)undreds” of Palestinian activists and dozens of organizations are currently in Israel “to gather information and use it to boycott (the nation) and harm its citizens.”
BDS activists travel to the West Bank and East Jerusalem to “incite” Palestinians, the statement alleged.
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Deri added “(f)ighting against Israeli boycott starts by fighting those who undermine the State of Israel. We have a responsibility to do everything possible to crush any boycott and to state clearly that we will not allow the State of Israel to be harmed. Forming the task force is an important step in that direction.”
Anyone expressing opposition to Israeli apartheid ruthlessness risks being targeted, treated very harshly, then deported. Palestinian activists risk arrest, torture and imprisonment.
On August 7, Director-General of the Strategic Affairs Ministry Sima Vaknin-Gil told Knesset Special Committee for the Transparency and Accessibility of Information members that “among the countries of the world, Israel is a pariah state.”
Her ministry assembled a team to change the narrative about Israel to the world, while acknowledging criticism of its policies is “legitimate.”
Israel is using “secret channels” and other means to combat BDS – to put its members and supporters “on the defensive,” she said.
Independent journalist Jonathan Cook said “(g)rowing numbers Palestinian citizens, including poets and writers, are being jailed or put under house arrest for posts on social media the Israeli authorities disapprove of.”
Free expression in Israel is increasingly under attack, persecution of Arab citizens and Occupied Palestinians far worse than South African apartheid ruthlessness.
In late July, a BDS movement statement said “Israel has launched a desperate and dangerous war of repression and demonization against the movement that reminds us of the darkest moments of McCarthyism in the US.”
Yet worldwide support continues growing – “leading political parties and the world’s largest human rights organizations…recogniz(ing) BDS as a legitimate means of nonviolently advocating and campaigning for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality.”
The following 2014 and 2015 achievements were cited:
1. Our campaign for the #RightToBoycott is winning mainstream and government support.
2. The Stop G4S campaign is building power and spreading across the world (referring to the company’s involvement with Israel’s prison system, police, military, checkpoints and illegal settlements).
3. Our campaigns against corporate complicity are more effective than ever.
4. Local governments are joining the BDS movement and declaring themselves Israeli Apartheid Free Zones.
5. Mainstream US churches are divesting from complicit companies.
6. Support for academic boycott and BDS on campus continues to grow.
7. The 12th Israeli Apartheid Week was the biggest yet.
8. Major political parties are taking BDS-related action or supporting the right to BDS.
9. The world’s biggest trade unions continue to join and support the BDS movement.
10. The UN is creating a database of corporations enabling Israel’s occupation.
11. The BDS movement is more inspiring and well-networked than ever.”
No wonder Israel is concerned. The more it attacks BDS, the stronger it gets, showing nonviolent grassroots activism is a redoubtable force to be reckoned with – hopefully one day able to end its apartheid ruthlessness once and for all.
I’m a proud BDS cultural member – persona non grata in Israel for supporting right over wrong.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book as editor and contributor is “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WWIII.
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html. Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.