TEL AVIV – Israel’s Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan called on interior, internal security and justice ministers across the world to stop funding terror-affiliated NGOs that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
Erdan’s letter, sent to officials in ten countries, comes on the heels of an Israeli report that investigated 13 international BDS organizations and found that some 30 terror activists held senior positions — two thirds of whom had spent time in prison for their crimes, which include murder.
“We will continue to expose the true face of BDS organizations and act to stop the funding given to them,” Erdan wrote.
He urged European Union Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini to halt more than $5.6 million in annual funding for pro-BDS groups.
“It is unthinkable that terrorists who present themselves as human-rights activists are going around European parliaments receiving legitimacy and funding from them,” continued Erdan. “I urge my counterparts to put an end to the fraud stemming from BDS.”
According to the report, there are more than 100 links between terrorist organizations Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and NGOs promoting BDS, some of which are the recipients of millions of euros in funding from European states and philanthropic funds.
The report, entitled “Terrorists in Suits,” also found that more than 30 terror operatives belonging to Hamas and the PFLP are in senior positions in those NGOs, with 20 of them having served time in prison for terrorism-related crimes.
According to a statement released at the time by Erdan’s ministry, the evidence shows that “boycott organizations and terrorist-designated organizations 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 organizational, financial, and active ties with terrorist groups.”
Erdan said the research “reveals the true nature and goals of the BDS movement and its connection to terrorism and antisemitism.”
“Terrorist groups and the anti-Israel boycott campaign have united in their goal of wiping Israel off the map. Terrorist groups view boycotts as a complementary tactic to terror attacks,” he said.
“When people talk about the goals of the BDS movement, they don’t bother to read official statements from its leaders,” Erdan said at the time. “If you do, it becomes clear that goals of its leaders are the same as the leaders of Palestinian terror organizations. BDS rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State within any borders. They want to see Israel wiped off the map.”
The report gave examples of terror operatives working on behalf of NGOs, including Laila Khaled, a PFLP member who hijacked civilian planes in the 1960s and 1970s, and was involved in planning terrorist attacks in Jerusalem as recently as 2011. Khaled recently called for all forms of resistance, especially “armed struggle,” against Israel. She fundraises for BDS organizations in Europe and South Africa.
Mustafa Awad was another example given. Awad, who is currently in prison for his involvement in several terror organizations including PFLP and Hezbollah, has been the representative for Samidoun, a U.S.-based NGO that promotes boycotts against Israel and advocates the release of Palestinian security-prisoners in Israeli jails, including those convicted of murdering civilians.
Rani Sourani is a PFLP operative who doubles as the director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. PCHR calls for a boycott of Israel and between 2014 and 2017 received $1.5 million in funding from European states. The group’s legal department provided counsel to Hamas in 2017.
Salah Hammouri, a convicted PFLP terrorist who in 2005 attempted to assassinate then-chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef, is a field researcher at Adameer, an organization promoting BDS.
“I urge all governments and financial institutions to investigate the activities of these BDS organizations, and immediately end all funding and support which they provide to them,” Erdan said.