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Netanyahu declares war on BDS

Date of publication: 8 June, 2015

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The Israeli PM held urgent talks with several officials over the weekend, allocating millions of dollars to combat the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign across the world.

The decision by the partially state-owned French telecom firm, Orange,  to withdraw its business from Israel last week prompted a BDS emergency summit organised by Sheldon Adelson in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, sent an urgent letter to the summit urging participants to fight the BDS: "de-legitimisation of Israel must be fought, and you are on the front lines". "It’s not about this or that Israeli policy. It’s about our right to exist here as a free people," Netanyahu claimed.

On the same day, Strategic Affairs and Information Minister Gilad Erdan, whose office's remit includes fighting BDS, held talks with Netanyahu to discuss an urgent anti-BDS strategy.

The strategy is said to concentrate on connecting the various government and non-government agencies combatting BDS, as well as securing further funding for a systematic war against BDS.

Netanyahu and Erdan agreed that his office will receive at least NIS 100 million (around $25 million), primarily to fight BDS.

Erdan's office will also receive 10 new positions for employees who will deal solely with the boycott campaign and so-called "de-legitimisation activities" against Israel.

Erdan claimed that the anti-BDS budget can double or triple to NIS 300 million (around $78 million) with the help of Jewish and pro-Israel organisations. The Israeli minister said that the campaign against the BDS needs to include government ministries, intelligence agencies, as well as increased cooperation with Jewish organisations.

At the beginning of the weekly Israeli cabinet meeting Sunday morning, Netanyahu briefed the ministers on his weekend anti-BDS activities.

Netanyahu also blasted the UN and western countries for failing to condemn the recent rocket attacks on Israel. “I have not heard anyone in the international community condemn this firing; neither has UN said a word,” he said. “It will be interesting if this silence continues when we use our full strength to uphold our right to defend ourselves.”

However, the UN did issue a statement following the recent firing of rockets from Gaza, attributed to an extremist group influenced by ISIS. 

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