Activists from the BDS movement against Israel [File].
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Reservists on Duty, an anti- BDS group in Israel has teamed up with the Lone Solider Center to recruit American veteran lone soldiers to help in the fight against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
The recruitment campaign, code named “Project Gideon,” aims to enlist US veterans to implement the principles and tactics employed by Reservists on Duty in their fight against BDS on university and college campuses across North America.
“These are Americans who have friends and family in the US and who care and love America and what it represents, its core values, and what BDS is doing is misleading their friends and unfortunately also harming the Palestinians in the process,” Amit Deri, chairman and founder of Reservists on Duty, told The Jerusalem Post.
This past year, his group has adopted a more “proactive” approach to combating BDS, confronting the movement head-on and challenging its proclaimed status as a movement seeking to promote universal values and human rights.
“It is time to change the approach,” Deri said. “No additional hasbara [public diplomacy] activities and excuses in response to events, surrendering and apologizing even before the argument begins.”
Instead, he said, it is time to take a new approach and act in a “proactive and uncompromising way.”
As such, instead of highlighting the positive aspects of Israeli society, such as the number of Nobel prizes Israelis receive or its status as a hi-tech hub, the group aims to shine a spotlight on the human-rights violations in Palestinian society.
By revealing activities such as incitement, suppression of women’s rights, lack of religious tolerance and using children in combat – all actions that are in sharp contrast with American values – the group aims to prevent students from “identifying” with the BDS movement.
According to Deri, we want to show that support actually “encourages the oppression, abuse and reprisals against the Palestinian people,” which in turn also threatens the US and Western values.
“And the most important, we must constantly strive for direct meetings with the American and European student body and less in front of a Jewish audience, which is an already captive and convinced audience,” he said.
Veterans must meet basic requirements, including: having US or Canadian citizenship, having completed IDF service as a lone soldier, mother- tongue English with a basic understanding of Hebrew and the ability to fly to the US (the group will cover flights and accommodations) for at least four days between February and April.
Representatives of the movement noted that this new “proactive strategy” employed by the group has already seen “successes in many cases.”
The group said it also hoped its model would be adopted in the future by the agencies responsible for Israeli public diplomacy in the fight against BDS.