Israel releases report on links between BDS and militants
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli government released a report Sunday claiming to reveal close links between the Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel and militant groups.
Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry, which leads the country’s efforts against the boycott movement, said it uncovered extensive connections between pro-boycott groups and activists affiliated with Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement dismissed the report as “wildly fabricated.”
The 80-page report claims several dozen current or former members of the Palestinian groups, both designated terrorist organizations by the U.S., European Union and Israel, are involved in BDS activity through Palestinian and international NGOs.
“We have always seen indications of connections between BDS groups and designated terrorist organizations,” Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said. “What we discovered surprised even us.”
Most of the cases were based on somewhat vague accusations of affiliation or expressions of sympathy for militant groups, in some instances connected to acts that took place years ago. A female Palestinian lawmaker cited in the report, for instance, has been jailed by Israel for over a year without being charged with a crime. At least two people on the list have received international recognitions for their human rights work.
A rare example of a person being convicted for a violent act was PFLP member Leila Khaled, who was involved in plane hijackings in 1969 and 1970, briefly jailed in Britain and released in a prisoner exchange. She is now 74 years old.
The BDS movement has grown in popularity overseas in recent years, in large part because of its nonviolent message. It declined to comment on the allegations in the Israeli report.
“This wildly fabricated and recycled propaganda report from the far-right Israeli government cannot be dignified with any response,” it said.