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BDS and Hamas firmly tied, Israel says

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The Israeli government claimed in a report released last weekend that the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement is tied to terrorist organisations like Hamas.
by NICOLA MILTZ | Feb 07, 2019

This report, titled “Terrorists in Suits – The Ties Between NGOs Promoting BDS and Terrorist Organisations” flies in the face of the BDS movement’s insistence that it is a peaceful, human-rights organisation, which denies links to violence and terror.

The Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy released its report on Sunday, revealing more than 100 links shared between the internationally-designated terrorist organisations Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) with at least 13 anti-Israel BDS promoting nongovernmental organisations (NGOs).

South Africa is mentioned several times in the detailed 80-page report, including the fact that BDS South Africa (BDS-SA) plays “a central role” in the global BDS campaign against Israel.

“The terror groups have realised that armed conflict is not perceived as legitimate by the majority of Western society,” the report says. As a result, Hamas and PFLP operatives have “infiltrated and adopted seemingly benign NGOs” in South Africa as well as in the Palestinian Authority, Europe, and North America.

One of the most notorious names in the report is Leila Khaled, who became the poster girl of the PFLP in the 1970s for her involvement in the hijacking of two airliners.

The report says that BDS-SA “disingenuously draws on South Africa’s past under the apartheid regime as a model for the boycott campaign against Israel, a theme which reverberates with NGOs around the world. Leila Khaled, a renowned hijacker of a passenger airline and member of the PFLP terrorist group, acted as an official fundraiser for BDS South Africa.” The Johannesburg City Council is at present considering proposals made by political parties and friends aligned with BDS to have Sandton Drive named after her.

The report further goes on to explain how BDS-SA “has invested great efforts” in convincing the African National Congress to support the downgrade of the South African Embassy in Israel. It says that for more than a decade, BDS has promoted Israel Apartheid Week in cities and universities across the country and the world. “This campaign has led to dozens of violent incidents against Jewish students on campus.”

Responding to the report, BDS-SA Board Chairperson Professor Farid Esack told the SA Jewish Report that he found the report to be “rather juvenile and deceitful”. He insists that Khaled is no more a terrorist than the late President Nelson Mandela was.

The report “ignores the contribution of many other Palestinian solidarity formations in South Africa, and gives much more credit to BDS South Africa than it deserves”, he said.

“BDS-SA, like its international partners, has always advocated a peaceful and non-violent approach in seeking justice for the Palestinians, an end to Israeli occupation, and peaceful co-existence for all the people in that region. We have consistently opposed all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. If others insist on equating a narrow contemporary nationalist and religio-ethnic ideology with a 3000-year-old religious and cultural tradition which has made an enormous contribution to civilisation throughout the ages, then… well, tough.”

The report, however, goes on to document in detail a complex web of connections between known terrorists and civil society BDS organisations. It reveals that Hamas and the PFLP are utilising a network of NGOs promoting boycotts against Israel as an additional tactic in their “ultimate goal of dismantling the state of Israel”.

According to the report, the ties are not only ideological, but include the placement of known terrorists in positions of influence within major BDS organisations.

The report reveals how Hamas and the PFLP have successfully placed more than 30 of their members, 20 of which have served time – including for murder – in senior positions within BDS-promoting NGOs. It documents how boycott organisations and terrorist designated organisations 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 organisational, financial, and active ties with terrorist groups.

It details how, through these NGOs, these terrorists “exploit Western governmental funding, philanthropic foundations, financial platforms, and civil society to advance their goal of dismantling the state of Israel”.

The Israel-boycott organisations in question are shown to have received millions of euros in funding from European countries and philanthropic foundations, while gaining access to additional funds through financial, crowdfunding, and banking systems.

A response by Iqbal Jassat, one of the heads of the pro-BDS Media Review Network (MRN), has created quite a stir. It said, “@MRN1SA #BDS bites! Zionist apartheid regime shows signs of reeling from global boycott, divestment n sanctions. We are Hamas. We are PFLP. We love Leila Khalid. Long live #BDS!”

The MRN is an organisation which claims that its aim is to “dispel myths and stereotypes about Islam and Muslims”. In response, a Twitter user said: “So, you clearly confirm BDS supports terrorism.”

Adam Marcus said, “So, do you share Hamas’s view on gay people and women? Very progressive!”

Gimpel the Fool said, “Nice to see you admit you are Hamas.”

Ben Swartz, the National Chairperson of the South African Zionist Federation, told the SA Jewish Report, “The Israeli government report explores links between BDS and various terrorist organisations. Given the Media Review Network’s overt and well publicised links with BDS, Hamas leadership, and PFLP operatives like Leila Khaled, it is not surprising that they are feeling pressured by a report of this nature.”

Israel’s Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, said the report “reveals the true nature and goals of the BDS movement and its connection to terrorism and anti-Semitism”.

“When people talk about the goals of the BDS movement, they don’t bother to read official statements from its leaders. If you do, it becomes clear that the goals of its leaders are the same as those of the leaders of Palestinian terror organisations. BDS rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state within any borders. It wants to see Israel wiped off the map. Promoting boycotts is [just] a different means to achieve this goal.”

Erdan called on European leaders to cut all ties with the BDS movement and groups supporting anti-Israel boycotts.


  1. 2 Sara Gon 07 Feb
    BDS and Hamas share offices in a house in Bo Kaap
  2. 1 Jp 07 Feb
    BDS thuggery.
    From my knowledge of BDS coupled with this report it can safely be said that BDS are a bunch of thugs that have no place in an Academic setting. They are a propaganda wing of Hamas whose job it is to spread lies and to deceive. They prey on the apathetic. They are extremists (don't be fooled by how they dress & smile) and their side is with murderers and hate. They are not peaceful and support violence (Hamas) and will bully and distract and derail and threaten. 

    Bottomline - BDS are thugs.


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