[Opinion] On BDS, Israeli Politicians are Inflaming Friends and Strengthening Enemies
The friction between liberal diaspora Jews and the Israeli government was recently highlighted over the new laws and regulations designed to counter BDS campaigns and political warfare. The denunciation of the Knesset legislation authorizing the government to deny visas to BDS activists highlights this conflict.
For the critics, the restrictions are assaults on democracy, and worse. But for Israeli politicians on the right and center of the political spectrum, the BDS visa law, like other measures, was a necessary response to the ugly political war being waged against the Jewish state.
Another manifestation of awkward and ineffective measures aimed at BDS and demonization takes the form of efforts to limit foreign funding for NGOs that lead the political war against Israel, including the boycott campaigns and lawfare. If such laws are ever approved, the European government officials who guide these funds for favorite NGOs through the system, will simply increase the budgets to cover the taxes.
Soft power warfare like the BDS and lawfare campaigns are relatively new forms of international conflict and Israeli politicians have not proven very adept in dealing with these attacks. Instead of building alliances and expanding resources, as required for success on the more familiar military battlefield, the spate of legislation has had the opposite effect. It is time for the Knesset and the various ministers involved in these policies to change strategy.