JERUSALEM – Israel needs to view the issue of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a “war” that should be centralized and waged on a massive scale, Breitbart Jerusalem’s bureau chief Aaron Klein told a Knesset plenum on Tuesday.
Klein, who also serves as Breitbart’s senior investigative reporter and hosts the popular weekend talk radio show, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” slammed the United Nations for the recent Security Council resolution condemning settlements as a “flagrant violation of international law.”
“This unprecedented assault at the United Nations is obviously going to put the anti-Semitic, illegitimate, racist, apartheid-supporting Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions BDS campaign on steroids,” Klein warned.
Israel must reevaluate its response to the radical international movement, Klein said, and create a “massive central hub to fight” the movement.
“Fighting BDS really needs to be put in the context of a war. Of a massive battle,” he said.
Klein credited Israel for launching several small-scale initiatives to fight anti-Israel boycotts but said the efforts need to be stepped up. He praised both the Israeli government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for employing the use of social media in “hasbara” – public diplomacy – campaigns, especially during the 2014 war with Hamas in which the Foreign Ministry posted countless viral memes and videos exposing the terror inflicted on Israeli civilians.
Klein also noted the unprecedented measure taken last month when a notorious BDS activist was barred from entering the country. He further hailed the government’s efforts in coordinating with U.S. officials to advance anti-BDS legislation in several states across America.
While these successes are a “really good start,” Klein said, they are nevertheless a drop in the ocean and represent defensive measures and not an offensive campaign.
Some of the measures that Klein suggested include recruiting IDF soldiers and ex-soldiers to the cause, singling out specific boycotters and campaigning against them, and revisiting Israel’s own branding.
“[BDS activists] specialize in branding,” the bureau chief said, adding that when Israel is attacked for being “racist” or “illegitimate,” it automatically puts the country on the defensive.
“Israel needs to use a lot of those same labels against the BDS campaign,” he said.
However, the key factor in waging a counter-campaign against the boycotters is to first identify who they are, Klein said.
Despite the noise they make, Klein argued, BDS activists are actually just a “small group of millionaires and radical organizations” that have created a “matrix”-like reality in which they are publically regarded as representing a much wider grouping.
Once Israel ascertains who or what it’s actually up against, the Jewish state “can use their own tactics against them,” Klein said.
While Klein remains adamant that the crusade against BDS must come from the top down, Israel could also do with some help from its friends, he said.
“Congress is ready to help,” Klein said. “The administration of [President-elect] Donald Trump clearly doesn’t support BDS.”
He added that Israel “could learn a lot from Donald Trump’s media campaign” in the run-up to the elections.
“The one thing we learned during the 2016 presidential campaign is that the media doesn’t matter. Bypass them. Forget about them.”
Instead, said Klein, it was time for Israel to “troll the world with the truth.”
The Knesset session, organized by the Orthodox Jewish (OJ) Chamber of Commerce and its Public Policy Committee, was attended by 12 members of Knesset and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.