The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chaired by MK Zvi Hauser (Derech Eretz) held a meeting on Monday with the participation of outgoing Minister of Strategic Affairs Orit Farkash-Hacohen and Ministry of Strategic Affairs Director General Ronen Manelis.
MK Hauser opened the meeting by saying that the Ministry of Strategic Affairs is leading the campaign against the delegitimization of the State of Israel and the boycott phenomenon. “This is a strategic tool that is used mainly by the Palestinian Authority, in violation of the agreements it signed,” he said.
Discussing the “absurdity” of the delegitimization campaign against Israel, Hauser said “Next month we will mark a decade since what is termed the ‘Arab Spring,’ or perhaps I should say Arab winter. During this decade, the region has experienced hundreds of thousands of people killed and murdered, thousands upon thousands of detainees, the degradation of women, millions of refugees, the collapse of education, health and welfare systems and the loss of humanity around us. And during this decade, our enemies propose, present and launch a delegitimization campaign. Against who? The State of Israel.”
“This is the absurdity in all its ugliness, and we will discuss the measures Israel is taking against this absurd plot,” he said.
Minister Farkash-Hacohen said the ministry’s authority to act against the delegitimization and boycott campaigns is based on a decision of the Political-Security Cabinet. “The Government views this as an intensifying strategic challenge for the State of Israel,” she said. “The ministry has an excellent and high quality manpower infrastructure.”
The ministry, she explained, has reached the conclusion that it must “broaden its perspective,” and “rather than just look at BDS organizations and boycotts against the country, it must look at the broad arena of the delegitimization of the State of Israel. This means working to increase the country’s legitimacy while combating delegitimization. The ministry’s goal is not to attack every bit of criticism, whatever it may be. Criticism, even if harsh, is legitimate.”
Minister Farkash-Hacohen said Israel should focus on the “awareness arena,” with an emphasis on the social networks, “where it is unbearably easy to post fake news, disinformation, incitement and delegitimization of the State of Israel.” For example, she said, “we uncovered a campaign on the social networks that attacked, in Arabic, the United Arab Emirates and the moderate countries, calling them traitors and trying to create, artificially, the delegitimization of normalization measures.”
Farkash-Hacohen noted that the ministry has developed a professional tool for measuring delegitimization in various arenas and countries. “Following the agreements with the United Arab Emirates and my desire to focus on the digital arena, we realized that we do not have an adequate presence in the arena of dialogue in the Arabic language, so we launched a project in which, for the first time, Druze girls will perform National Service at a center we will open in the village of Julis, where, after receiving our technological training, they will monitor conversations in Arabic on the social networks.”