Israel's Minister of Public Security and of Strategic Affairs, Gilad Erdan (pictured), this week sounded a dramatic, but not surprising, warning that "terrorists in suits" are working against Israel as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Organizations like NGO Monitor had already previously raised the alarm concerning terrorist exploitation of the human rights agenda. But it is only now that the Israeli government has decided to launch its own full-blown campaign against those human rights organizations that, knowingly or otherwise, are facilitating the deadly schemes of Palestinian terror groups.
The reason for the long-delayed official recognition of this worrying phenomenon, to give Erdan the benefit of the doubt, was the need to fully verify the information collected by Israeli NGOs before going public with it. That this might be the case can be seen in the knee-jerk reaction of Middle East Monitor (MEM), which called Erdan's announcement "a new smear campaign" that "shirks the transparency it demands of others and disseminates misleading and tendentious information." Apart from the teary-eyed personal testimonies of those directly or indirectly involved in terror, however, MEM didn't provide a single shred of evidence to credibly dispel the information presented in the report "Terrorists in Suites," published by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.
In the introduction, Erdan is quoted saying in no uncertain terms that "terrorist groups and the anti-Israel boycott campaign have united in their goal of wiping Israel off the map. Terrorist groups view boycotts as a complementary tactic to terror attacks. Following the exposure of over 100 links between terrorist groups and leading BDS organizations, I urge all governments and financial institutions to investigate the activities of these BDS organizations, and immediately end all funding and support which they provide to them."
The report itself "reveals how Hamas and the PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] are utilizing a network of NGOs promoting boycotts against Israel as an additional tactic in their ultimate goal of dismantling the State of Israel. These organizations have successfully placed over 30 of their members, 20 of which have served time, including for murder, in senior positions within BDS-promoting NGOs. The report documents how boycott organizations and terrorist designated organizations raise finances together, share the same personnel, and showcases that contrary to popular belief, these officials have not abandoned their support for terrorism, but instead, continue to maintain organizational, financial, and active ties with terrorist groups."
A case in point is an NGO called Addameer, that was founded by none other than members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Many of its members were convicted of terrorist activity. Among them is Yaqoub Oude – a PFLP terrorist for decades. Oude murdered two Israelis and injured nine others. He was sentenced to three life terms, but served only 17 years in prison after being released in a prisoner exchange deal in 1985.
Shawan Jabarin, the General Director of Al-Haq since 2006, served as a senior PFLP official in the past, and at least until recently maintained close ties with PFLP operatives in Judea and Samaria. Jabarin was tried and convicted for his "military" activity in the PFLP, and has served multiple prison sentences. And the list goes on, and on.
The report will not change the minds of Israel-hating BDS-associated NGOs. Hopefully, however, European countries who by their own laws are prohibited from facilitating either BDS or terrorist activity, will do something about their own support of those who seek to destroy Israel.