State Comptroller blasts confused efforts against BDS

Boycott Israel protestors Photo: Reuters
Boycott Israel protestors Photo: Reuters

A report criticizes the division of authority among Israel's Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Strategic Affairs, and Diaspora Affairs.

Israel is unsuccessful in countering the growing worldwide boycott and anti-Semitism, according to the section of the State Comptroller's Report dealing with Israel's struggle against de-legitimization. According to the report, it is unclear which ministry is responsible for conducting this struggle. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is sharing the task with the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs. The State Comptroller writes that this division is ineffective; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should coordinate the efforts, and its work interfaces with the other ministries should be improved.

"The Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Information still lacks the operational advantages available to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including professional know-how and experience, deployment of infrastructure at 106 offices worldwide, and a profound social and cultural familiarity over many years with the mood among local residents in each of the services countries. Such familiarity is necessary in order to wage an effective campaign against BDS, in addition to direct access to the battlefield and organizational partners enjoyed by overseas Ministry of Foreign Affairs offices," the report states. "Despite the extensive authority given to the Ministry of Strategic Affairs starting in 2013 in managing the government struggle against de-legitimization efforts and boycotts, it has not managed to utilize the full budget it received or to report substantial achievements."

The State Comptroller's report also found fault with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, mainly with the lack of clearly defined goals. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department for Activity in Civilian Society has not devised clear measures for achieving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' goals in dealing with efforts at de-legitimizing Israel around the world - among academic and cultural circles, the labor unions, and the general public - in the target countries. It is evident from reports by the overseas offices that the problems in this area are only getting worse."

Various types of anti-Semitism are spreading throughout the world and becoming worse, but the two ministries active in this matter - the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs - have not produced any prominent achievements. The State Comptroller recommends reconsideration of this separation.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had no broad long-term strategy that included vision, achievable goals, concrete targets, alternative methods of acting, and measures of success for the necessary activity," the report complained.

The State Comptroller recommended, "The national security cabinet should evaluate the existing functional model in the struggle against efforts at de-legitimization and the overseas boycott movement, based on periodic assessments. In order to combat the efforts at religious de-legitimization of Israel, it is extremely important to promote relations with countries having member churches of the various Christian sects and moderate Islamic groups around the world."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on May 24, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

Boycott Israel protestors Photo: Reuters
Boycott Israel protestors Photo: Reuters
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