Israeli Government Was Handed a “Present” By BDS Founder Omar Barghouti. Why Haven’t They Taken It?

Almost a month ago, I wrote a piece criticizing the Israeli government for not “getting it” when it comes to online diplomacy. I was responding to news that the Foreign Ministry had organized a “hasbara training” teaching Israeli “influencers” how to respond to the haters, including being taught the correct terminology they should use.

While I received a small amount of pushback on this (and way more approving comments), I stand by my opinion. In fact, I am even more adamant now that the government does not get it.

Since I wrote that piece, Omar Barghouti, the father of the BDS movement, made comments in an interview that show what he and the BDS movement is about. As I posted almost a week ago, Barghouti denied the Jewish right of self-determination (afforded to all other people), while claiming Jews should be subsumed by Arab culture. The comments were, to be frank, shocking and telling:

Not only that, but he used a number of antisemitic dog whistles:

This was Barghouti handing over a present to Israel advocates, wrapped in a nice bow.

I pushed my post far and wide, not just on social media, but on other channels, some of which include contacts I have within the Foreign Ministry.

The response has been underwhelming – not just from Israel advocates and the media, but the Ministry.

Remember, the Israeli government has been actively trying to discredit the BDS movement. Almost three years ago, they released its “Terrorists in Suits” report, which revealed over a hundred links shared between the internationally-designated terrorist organizations Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and at least 13 anti-Israel BDS promoting NGOs. The report was very detailed; I assume it took a lot of time and money to produce.

Yet here we have hugely damning comments from the father of BDS, showing his antisemitism and denial of Jewish rights. In easy to consume sound bytes. And not a peep out of them.

In 1973, legendary Israeli diplomat Abba Eban famously quipped: “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” I fear when it comes to the online battlefield, the same can be said for the Israeli government.

I just hope they pay attention to what I am saying and it springs them into action.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media