To all the politi­cians, jour­nal­ists, Zion­ist lob­by­ists and hacks who con­tin­u­ally claim that BDS is ir­rel­e­vant, the fact that it’s being fought at the high­est lev­els of the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment proves oth­er­wise. Alex Kane in Mon­doweiss re­ports:

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu is di­rectly in­volved in grow­ing ef­forts to com­bat the boy­cott, di­vest­ment and sanc­tions (BDS) move­ment, ac­cord­ing to a re­port on the web­site of Is­raeli news­pa­per Yedioth Ahronoth.

Nahum Barnea, a lead­ing Is­raeli com­men­ta­tor,re­ported June 25 that Ne­tanyahu met with a small group of un­named “Jew­ish mil­lion­aires” at the Is­raeli Pres­i­den­tial Con­fer­ence last week in Jerusalem. Ne­tanyahu “sought to raise their money and use their con­nec­tions for the war against the anti-Is­rael boy­cott move­ment”–a move­ment Barnea says is “arous­ing great in­ter­est in West­ern coun­tries, leav­ing its mark on the aca­d­e­mic sys­tem, on eco­nomic de­ci­sions made by busi­ness and po­lit­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions and on the media.”

The de­tails from Barnea are yet an­other in­di­ca­tion of how se­ri­ously the Is­raeli es­tab­lish­ment is tak­ing the BDS move­ment. Ne­tanyahu’s de­sire to com­bat BDS comes about a month after Is­raeli busi­ness­men warned the prime min­is­ter that with­out progress to­wards a two-state so­lu­tion, for­eign in­vest­ments would be with­held and “no one” would “buy goods” from Is­rael. And in a speech this week, Ne­tanyahu “promised to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions of [the Jew­ish Peo­ple Pol­icy In­sti­tute] with re­gards to coun­ter­ing in­ter­na­tional ‘dele­git­imiza­tion’ and boy­cott ini­tia­tives,” as the Elec­tronic In­tifada’s Ben White noted.

Barnea’s story was pub­lished a day after Haaretz’s Judy Maltz broke the news that the Con­fer­ence of Pres­i­dents of Major Amer­i­can Jew­ish Or­ga­ni­za­tions was plan­ning to launch a new cam­paign tar­get­ing BDS on col­lege cam­puses. The cam­paign was an­nounced by Mal­colm Hoen­lein, the ex­ec­u­tive vice-chair­man of the Con­fer­ence of Pres­i­dents group.

Is there a con­nec­tion be­tween Hoen­lein’s an­nounce­ment and Ne­tayahu’s meet­ing with a small group of Jew­ish mil­lion­aires on the BDS move­ment? The meet­ing took place at the Is­raeli Pres­i­den­tial Con­fer­ence; Hoen­lein was there, and it’s where he told Maltz the news of the new anti-BDS cam­paign. It’s pure spec­u­la­tion at this point. (I’ve put in an e-mail in­quiry to the Con­fer­ence of Pres­i­dents of Major Amer­i­can Jew­ish Or­ga­ni­za­tions, but they have not re­sponded.)

Hoen­lein and Ne­tanyahu are con­sid­ered to be “very close,” as Haaretz’s Barak Ravid put it in 2011 in a re­port on Hoen­lein’s meet­ing with Syr­ian pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad. Hoen­lein re­port­edly de­liv­ered a mes­sage from Ne­tanyahu to Assad, though Hoen­lein de­nied he did so for Ne­tanyahu.

What­ever the case, the re­port­edly di­rect in­volve­ment of Ne­tanyahu in anti-BDS ef­forts rep­re­sents the lat­est ef­fort by the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment to en­list Jews out­side the gov­ern­ment to take on the move­ment. In 2010, the anti-BDS Is­rael Ac­tion Net­work was formed by the Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tions of North Amer­ica and the Jew­ish Coun­cil for Pub­lic Af­fairs at the urg­ing of the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment, ac­cord­ing to the­Jew­ish Tele­graphic Agency’s Jacob Berk­man.

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