A new joint ministerial task force has been formed to address the increasingly damaging phenomenon of Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement activists entering Israel and organizing activities to delegitimize and destroy the country from within.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Interior Minister Arye Deri announced in a joint statement Sunday that the news task force will be focused on tracking down the hundreds of BDS activities who already exist within Israel and who organize events calling for boycotts of the Jewish State.
The task force “is a necessary step in light of the malicious intentions of delegitimizing activists who work to spread lies and twist the truth about the reality in our region,” Erdan said.
“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,” added Deri. The Interior Minister is responsible for the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority as well.
Both were firm that it is time to put a stop to the boycotts against Israel, and each expressed determination to fight the phenomenon via the laws and agencies at his disposal.
The move comes as the realization sets in that Israel is increasingly being seen in the international arena as a pariah state — an existential threat that must be turned around if Israel is to survive.
Speaking to the Knesset Committee for the Transparency and Accessbility of Government Information, Sima Vaknin-Gil said the goal of the Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Ministry is to replace that image with one that is more positive, hopefully within the decade.
Vaknin-Gil, director-general of the ministry, said that if all goes as planned and the current “narrative” is replaced, by 2025, no one will question whether the State of Israel has the right to exist.”
Meanwhile, as a start, the lawmakers will work to deport those involved in the BDS movement in the country, according to the statement released by the ministers. In addition, BDS activists will be barred from entering the country. Boycotting Israel, said Erdan, “must have a price.”
At least two dozen NGOs receive more than half of their funding from foreign government and other sources outside the State of Israel, and use the money to delegitimize and further isolate the Jewish State.
Erdan — who doubles as Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister — added that BDS activists make a point of traveling to Judea and Samaria to incite violence among citizens of the Palestinian Authority, and to block operations by the IDF and Border Guard Police.
A Swiss BDS activist was deported from Israel for the first time this month before she was able to enter the country after landing at Ben Gurion International Airport.
Rita Faye has visited Israel a number of times in the past and is well known to the IDF for her harassment of Israeli soldiers at checkpoint crossings into the Palestinian Authority around Jericho. When it became known that she was on her way to Israel, the IDF requested the Interior Ministry block her entry into the country.
Faye is a member of a pro-BDS Christian organization. She was put on a plane and sent back to where she came from, with a deportation order signed by the Interior Minister.