TEL AVIV – Diplomatic cables from Israeli embassies all over the world indicate that the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is gaining significant momentum, the Jerusalem Post reported.
A number of diplomatic cables sent to Israel’s Foreign Ministry and obtained by the Post’s Hebrew-language sister publication show that efforts to boycott Israel and delegitimize the Jewish state are yielding results.
In Barcelona, for example, the ruling extreme leftwing party CUP’s city councilors are calling for the amendment of agreements with Israel, including a call to cancel Tel Aviv as Barcelona’s sister city.
“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 elaborating,” the cable said.
The cable to the Foreign Ministry described anti-Israel activity in Spain as a whole as “bothersome and worrisome.”
However, when it comes to the city of Barcelona and its elected officials, the cable admitted that the subject of Israel “takes on entirely different proportions.”
In the Belgian city of Liege, organizers of an annual dance festival turned down Israel’s offer to sponsor the event as a result of boycott threats.
After initially accepting the offer, Liege then reneged and according to Israel’s embassy “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. Protests made to the festival organizers failed to yield any results.”
From the US, the ministry received a cable from Chicago that an event hosted by a Jewish group at an annual LGBTQ conference was overrun with anti-Israel activists. Embassy officials who attended the event described their experiences in a cable to the Foreign Ministry.
“After the Sabbath prayer service 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.”
Breitbart Jerusalem covered the event and a video of the protesters can be viewed here.
Israeli diplomats also reported on the failure to thwart a regional conference held by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) last weekend at Emory University in Georgia, a campus with the highest Jewish student population in the South.
The conference, according to a diplomatic cable, was aimed at protesting Christian support for Zionism and strengthening Christian-Palestinian ties.
“We were not surprised, unfortunately, by the absolute lack of willingness of Jewish students at Emory University to take action,” Israeli Foreign Ministry employees wrote of the incident.
The Foreign and Strategic Affairs Ministries assert that last year’s Palestinian demand that FIFA expel Israel was as a turning point for the boycott movement.
“In the past, the boycott movement operated only 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 populist direction, probably because they noted that it garnered more attention and was more effective.”
Ministry sources claim that combating boycotts and delegitimization is a difficult challenge:
“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,” a Foreign Ministry official said.