Israeli diplomatic cables reveal sharp increase in efforts to boycott Israel
Posted on: February 23, 2016, by : Admin

The diplomats ended the cable with the conclusion that “the phenomenon of anti-Israeli activity in Spain is bothersome and concerning, but in the past was centered in small cities. When it arrives in Barcelona, and is voiced among elected officials, the subject takes on entirely different proportions


Another incident occurred in the Belgian city of Liege, where the organizers of an annual dance festival decided last week to turn down an Israeli sponsorship of the event due to boycott threats. The original idea was the Israeli Embassy’s, which offered sponsorship to the festival after the Batsheva Dance troupe was chosen to open the festivities. “At a later stage,” a cable sent from the embassy in Belgium to the Foreign Ministry reads, “they informed us that they did not want to be tied to the embassy, were forgoing our support and returning the money. All of this because of the threat of a boycott. Our discussions and protests to the festival organizers failed.”

The Foreign Ministry received a report from the city of Chicago last week that the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance’s event at a local LGBT conference was canceled. The representatives of the Jerusalem Open House were invited to hold a special Friday evening prayer service and to speak at the conference, but were warned ahead of time of a possible boycott. In a cable sent from the Israeli delegation in the US city, the diplomats described how they had been happy to help with the conference “without being in the forefront, and without Israeli flags in the building, as long as the representatives from the Jerusalem Open House were given a chance to address the audience.”

=========

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Diplomatic-cables-reveal-sharp-increase-in-efforts-to-boycott-Israel-443583

Diplomatic cables reveal sharp increase in efforts to boycott Israel

Dozens of cables sent to the Foreign Ministry each month from Israel’s embassies in Europe and the US paint a picture of an escalation by the international BDS movement.

A woman holds a sign which reads "Boycott Israel" in front of symbolic coffins while attending a demonstration supporting Palestine, in Berlin August 1, 2014. Israel launched its Gaza offensive on July 8 in response to a surge of rocket attacks by Gaza's dominant Hamas Islamists. Hamas said that Palestinians would continue confronting Israel until its blockade on Gaza was lifted. REUTERS/Steffi Loos (GERMANY - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR40YJG
A woman holds a sign which reads “Boycott Israel” in front of symbolic coffins while attending a demonstration supporting Palestine, in Berlin August 1, 2014. Israel launched its Gaza offensive on July 8 in response to a surge of rocket attacks by Gaza’s dominant Hamas Islamists. Hamas said that Palestinians would continue confronting Israel until its blockade on Gaza was lifted. REUTERS/Steffi Loos (GERMANY – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) – RTR40YJG

The efforts of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel are increasing and every month the Foreign Ministry receives dozens of reports from its embassies and representations abroad on new attempts to isolate the country.

The Jerusalem Post‘s Hebrew language sister publication Ma’ariv Hashavua has obtained a number of diplomatic cables sent in recent days to the Foreign Ministry describing the growing phenomenon of international isolation both in Europe and the US.

One such cable arrived from Barcelona, where the CUP operates, an extreme left-wing party that supports Catalonian independence and secession from Spain. Members of the party in the Barcelona Municipality, who have been defined by Israeli diplomats as “anarchists,” raised an initiative calling on the city council to make changes to existing agreements with Israel and to consider canceling its sister city designation with Tel Aviv.

Protesters call for boycott of Israel [file]. (photo credit:REUTERS)

A cable sent from the Israeli diplomatic delegation in the Spanish city reads: “The request by CUP’s representatives in the city council to change existing agreements with Israel and to consider canceling existing agreements with Tel Aviv is a concerning request. Even more concerning is the answer by the ruling party that they will check the issue, because other organizations have already turned to them on the same matter. In response to the claim that the agreement with Tel Aviv strengthens the occupation, the deputy mayor answered that this must be given the utmost consideration, without expanding. The Israeli Embassy in Barcelona spoke with the foreign secretary of the ruling party in Catalonia (which is actually in the opposition in Barcelona), and he promised to ensure that all of the members of his party will oppose the initiative.”

The diplomats ended the cable with the conclusion that “the phenomenon of anti-Israeli activity in Spain is bothersome and concerning, but in the past was centered in small cities. When it arrives in Barcelona, and is voiced among elected officials, the subject takes on entirely different proportions.”

The Foreign Ministry turned to Pablo Sanchez, who consults Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau on international issues. A cable which describes the discussion reads: “Sanchez’s response was encouraging. After a philosophical speech on the meaning of boycott, he emphasized that this was not an immediate step, but he admitted that the issue is indeed being considered.”

Another incident occurred in the Belgian city of Liege, where the organizers of an annual dance festival decided last week to turn down an Israeli sponsorship of the event due to boycott threats. The original idea was the Israeli Embassy’s, which offered sponsorship to the festival after the Batsheva Dance troupe was chosen to open the festivities. “At a later stage,” a cable sent from the embassy in Belgium to the Foreign Ministry reads, “they informed us that they did not want to be tied to the embassy, were forgoing our support and returning the money. All of this because of the threat of a boycott. Our discussions and protests to the festival organizers failed.”

The Foreign Ministry received a report from the city of Chicago last week that the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance’s event at a local LGBT conference was canceled. The representatives of the Jerusalem Open House were invited to hold a special Friday evening prayer service and to speak at the conference, but were warned ahead of time of a possible boycott. In a cable sent from the Israeli delegation in the US city, the diplomats described how they had been happy to help with the conference “without being in the forefront, and without Israeli flags in the building, as long as the representatives from the Jerusalem Open House were given a chance to address the audience.”

Surprisingly, days before the conference was set to take place, the organizers announced that they were changing their minds and canceling the Israeli participation in the conference, because it was “dividing the community” and that they could not ensure the safety of the participants. However, soon afterward they changed their decision again, and the Israeli representatives arrived at the conference.

“After the Sabbath prayer service,” a cable sent from Chicago read, “we made our way to the center where the conference was taking place. In front of the door to the building, some 400 noisy protesters awaited us, blocking our way. Ten minutes before the beginning of the conference, several pro-Palestinian activists burst into the building, bringing the event to a halt.”

Another disappointment awaited the members of the Israeli diplomatic delegation in the US state of Georgia, who attempted to prevent the Students for Justice in Palestine’s (SJP) regional conference, held last weekend at Emory University, which has the highest population of Jewish students in the South. The goal of the conference, according to a cable from the Israeli diplomatic delegation, was to fight the base of Christian support for Zionism and to strengthen Christian-Palestinian ties. The Foreign Ministry employees wrote: “We were not surprised, unfortunately, by the absolute lack of willingness by the Jewish students at Emory University to act (against the conference).

The Foreign Ministry and the Strategic Affairs Ministry mark as a turning point the crisis with the world soccer governing body, FIFA, in May 2015, that came about as a result of a Palestinian request to expel Israel from the organization. This was the point at which they understood and internalized the fact that the rules in battling BDS had changed.

unnamedqq
President of the Palestinian FA Jibril Rajoub shows a red card as he speaks during the 65th FIFA Congress on May 29, 2015 in Zurich.(photo credit: AFP/MICHAEL BUHOLZER)

Those responsible for concentrating efforts to fight boycotts against Israel admitted this week that they don’t know which direction the next boycott will pop out from. “In the past, the boycott movement would only act in the political arena – protests in front of embassies and against members of parliament who support Israel,” a senior Foreign Ministry source said. “Ever since [Fatah official] Jibril Rajoub appeared at the FIFA conference and pulled out a symbolic “red card” for Israel, we see that the movement has moved in a more civilian direction. Probably because they noted that it garnered more attention and was more effective.”

Foreign Ministry sources say that they are being forced to deal with different varieties of boycotts, and it is not easy. “The boycott movement against Israel is building its case in every field, and we need to prepare counter-arguments, legal arguments and more. Our deployment on the ground is critical. We admit that the activity against boycotts is a case of version vs. version, word vs. word, but there is no substitute for diplomatic work on the ground.” Senior officials in the Strategic Affairs Ministry, which recently received the job of dealing with the boycott movement, with a budget of some NIS 100 million, said: “We are now only responding to boycotts in the world and not initiating. However, we are building a staff, with dozens of people, that will work together with all of the government ministries. For example, if there is an attempted boycott in the field of sports, we will inform the Sport Ministry ahead of time and prepare an effective response. The same goes for agriculture, finance or any other ministry. Our goal is to be an influential factor in the fight against boycotts and the delegitimization of Israel.

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid responded to Ma’ariv Hashavua‘s exclusive article on the diplomatic cables, contending that the Israeli government is doing nothing to battle the rise of BDS.

“These cables being sent are arriving at a dead end,” Lapid said Tuesday at a conference organized by financial newspaper Globes. “They land at the Foreign Ministry, which has no way of dealing with this material, because there are no ministers appointed to deal with it, and there is no clear foreign policy against BDS today,” Lapid said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *