A Strategic Affairs Ministry report released this week with the catchy title “Terrorists in Suits,” reveals more than 100 different connections linking terrorists groups to organizations that promote anti-Israel boycotts, including “the employment of 30 current and ‘retired’ terror operatives.”
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said: “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.”
We’re not talking about Roger Waters and his ilk: This is not just the ugly face of an artist who has decided to make it his life’s work to present a false image of Israel as an apartheid-era South Africa and call for the boycott of events, such as the Eurovision Song Contest scheduled to be held in Tel Aviv in May.
The report reveals a deeper, darker phenomenon: It shows how Hamas and the PFLP (the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) have ties to at least 13 anti-Israel NGOs, and have managed to place more than 30 of their members in senior positions inside these groups. This includes 20 members who have previously sat in jail, some for murder. The report “shows how boycott organizations and terrorist-designated organizations raise finances together and 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.”
The BDS organizations were shown to have received millions of euros in funding from European countries and philanthropic foundations, in addition to funds raised through crowdfunding, banks and other means.
One of the most notorious names in the report is Leila Khaled, who became the poster girl of the PFLP in the 1970s for her involvement in the hijacking of two airliners. According to the report, in 2011 she was found to have taken coordinated actions for a terrorist cell planning to attack sites in Jerusalem, and has not renounced “armed struggle.”
Khaled remains active in the PFLP, a designated terrorist organization, but has been invited to address the Irish National Teachers’ Organization and to appear at an arts festival in Barcelona, for example. The Johannesburg City Council in South Africa last year even proposed that a street be named after her.
Another example is Mustapha Awad, who is currently in jail for his involvement in several terrorist organizations, including the PFLP and Hezbollah. Awad was a representative in Brussels of the NGO Samidoun, which promotes boycotts against Israel and advocates for the release of Palestinian security-prisoners, including convicted killers. Awad worked with the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) to bring Khaled to meet members of the European Parliament in 2016.
Shawan Jabarin, a former senior PFLP activist who served several prison terms in Israel for his involvement in terrorism, is now director-general of the boycott-promoting organization Al-Haq. The judge in one of Jabarin’s cases described him as, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde... During part of the day, he is the director of a human rights organization, and in other parts he is active in a terrorist organization that commits acts of murder.”
The report aims to show how members of terrorist organizations operate under the guise of “boycott activists” to meet with senior Western government officials and exert pressure to release convicted terrorists held in Israeli jails. In its own words, it wants to “remove the ‘mask’ of NGOs promoting BDS by exposing in an in-depth study the true nature of this scheme.”
Israel must be careful not to over-exaggerate and therefore unintentionally bolster the importance of the BDS movement – but it is essential to expose the real faces of the terrorists who are BDS supporters. We join Erdan’s call for Western governments, groups and financial institutions to stop funding NGOs that promote the boycott of Israel, particularly those groups shown to have strong ties with terrorist organizations. Those officials who invite terrorists dressed in suits to wander Western corridors of power are, by extension, helping terrorists dressed in suicide vests carry out their deadly work.