Here’s the link to a youtube for speeches by minister of interior Arieh Deri and minister of intelligence Yisrael Katz. It is professionally and accurately translated and subtitled by a Jewish-Israeli human rights activist (and colleague).Several of my colleagues (Palestinian, international as well as Jewish-Israeli BDS leading activists) and I feel alarmed and seriously concerned for our physical safety after this top-level threat.
We are not panicking, needless to say; neither will this remotely thwart our human rights work. But we do not take such threats lightly either.
We are still working on collecting the threats and attacks made by other
Israeli government ministers and political leaders against the BDS movement (and against me by name), like Ayelet Shaked (minister of justice), Gilad Erdan (minister of strategic affairs and anti-BDS czar), etc.
Minister Yisrael Katz in his statements plays on the official Israeli military term for assassination, “targeted thwarting,” and adds “civil” to it. As Israeli colleagues have pointed out, adding “civil” to a term used for many years by Israeli officials to indicate assassination is ambiguous at best.BDS is a global nonviolent human rights movement led by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. Established in 2005, on the first anniversary of the ICJ advisory opinion against Israel’s wall, BDS calls for fundamental Palestinian rights under international law.
The BDS movement is anchored in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and rejects, accordingly, all forms of racism and discrimination on the basis of identity, including anti-Semitism.In the last couple of years, Israel has been desperately waging a legal warfare (lawfare) against BDS, after failing for 10 years to even slow down the impressive spread of the movement. Israel is fostering an environment in France, the UK, the US, Canada, Germany, Australia and elsewhere akin to McCarthyism, advocating for extreme suppression of civil liberties and freedom of speech. Butstill, this is the first time that an Israeli government minister so violently incites against Palestinian human rights defenders
As Katz has openly alerted us in his statements, Israel’s intelligence services plan to fabricate supposed connections between BDS “leaders” and “terror organizations.” Aside from sullying our names, this mafia-like campaign of intimidation is implicitly setting the ground for physically harming us, especially in light of the toxic atmoshpere in Israel.
Israel’s Chief Rabbi for the Sephardic community is calling for the ethnic cleansing of all “non-Jews” from “the land of Israel.”
A Jewish settler leader has called Palestinian and other Christians “blood sucking vampires” who should be “expelled” from Israel. He called for torching even more of our churches, after many Palestinian churches and mosques have indeed been torched by far-right settlers, while protected, and therefore supported, by the Israeli military, security forces and judiciary.
Settlers who have torched to death Palestinian toddler Ali Dawabsheh and his parents last year and later celebrated their gruesome acts of terror have yet to be sentenced for the murders. This has naturally encouraged other settlers to torch the house of the remaining eyewitness to the crime, Ali’s uncle.
Summing up a growing sentiment among Israeli dissenters, the prominent Israeli journalist Gideon Levy called 2015, “the year of blatant and unapologetic Israeli fascism.” I wonder how Levy might describe 2016 when it ends.
It is in this specific environment of rampant racism, criminality and utter impunity that one needs to read minister Katz’s threat of “targeted civil elimination.” In Israeli society today, as Senator Leahy rightly notes, soldiers, security forces and armed settlers easily get away with murder of Palestinians, quite literally.
Indeed,”targeted civil assassination” could well be understood by far-right settlers or other extremist elements in Israel as a license to kill by a “civilian,” rather than by the military/security apparatus. Although Katz goes around the bushes and avoids defining the term in any accuracy, his claim that some BDS leaders and activists are connected to “terrorism” and “terrorist organizations” further amplifies this between-the-lines license to kill.
The US administration and the EU are also responsible, of course, for this criminal impunity. Other than providing the life-line for Israel’s regime of apartheid and occupation, arming it to its teeth and protecting it from any serious international sanctions for decades, the US and the EU sent their Tel Aviv ambassadors to participate in this Israeli anti-BDS conference. They have yet to raise a peep in protest over the implicit threat to neutralize human rights defenders that were made there.
This amounts to a tacit US and EU green light to Israel to go ahead with its mad and illegal war on the nonviolent BDS movement and its main activists, in Palestine and around the world.
This is the reason why I am seriously concerned for my physical safety and that of my Palestinian, Israeli and international BDS colleagues. We hold the Israeli government responsible for any physical harm that may be inflicted on any of us as a result of this vile attempt to silence our voices.
We also hold the US administration and the EU partially responsible for any such attacks.Regardless of their position on BDS, human rights organizations and citizens of the world who care about civil rights and human rights are called upon to take a clear position defending our right to advocate for BDS as a matter of conscience and free speech. They are also called upon to condemn in unambiguous terms this unprecedented Israeli government incitement to violence against Palestinian and other human rights defenders.
Moshe Dayan once said that “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.” The current Israeli regime is scrupulously heeding Dayan’s advice. But “mad dogs” can be stopped. Indeed, mad dogs must be stopped, as there is no telling whom they may bite next.
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