Israeli row over BDS blacklist


Israel’s Attorney General, Avichai Mendelblitt, has forbidden the Strategic Affairs Ministry from compiling a “blacklist” of Israelis who support the BDS campaign against the Jewish state.

The clash between the Israeli government’s most senior legal adviser and Internal Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan was revealed by Haaretz on Monday last week, leading to an angry response from Mr Erdan on Twitter.

The Israeli government has been maintaining a database of BDS activists around the world for years, and foreign citizens on the list arriving at Ben Gurion Airport or Israel’s land border crossings are often refused entry.

Mr Erdan, who received two years ago a ministerial brief to “combat BDS” wants to include Israeli citizens on the database. In cabinet meetings the attorney-general has clashed with Mr Erdan, insisting that his ministry has no legal authority to collect information on Israeli citizens’ political views.

On Monday morning, following the report in Haaretz, Mr Erdan tweeted: “I will keep on doing my job and acting against those promoting the boycott and delegitimisation of Israel. Even if bureaucrats who are used to just defending leak it to Haaretz.

“The intelligence services have been working quietly and efficiently for years on this issue,” said one former Israeli intelligence official. “Erdan is trying to make a name for himself on this and gain political capital as the great crusader against BDS, but his ministry has just caused damage.”

Senior Israeli diplomats have also complained about demands from Mr Erdan’s ministry to use Israeli embassies abroad for anti-BDS operations, which so far have been blocked.

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