Jerusalem-based BDS watchdog call center takes the fight to anti-Israel activities by providing activists’ information reported by civilians to Interior Ministry; group seeks deportation of activsts or barring their entry into Israel.
Israel’s watchdog center fighting BDS
In a small office situated in the heart of Jerusalem a telephone center has been established which allows people in Israel to call and report Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions movement (BDS) activities inside the country designed to harm its international standing.
In recent years, the influential watchdog center against the BDS movement, ‘Lev B’Olam’ (Heart of the World), has taken on itself the struggle against the pernicious phenomenon by relying on civilians to bring it to their attention.
When a caller alerts the organization, a representative completes a complaint form and asks a series of questions to gather as much information as possible such as how many BDS activists are involved in a given incident, what they are doing, whether they are using cameras etc. As much pedigree information is compiled about the individuals in question including their names, their places of residence and whether the activists belong to any specific organization.
The accumulated information is then added to a special file and transferred to the Ministry of Interior and Internal Security.
The initiative, which has already been around for some three years, was intensified following the Israeli deportation of Rita Faye, a BDS activists known to the IDF for her activities at checkpoints and harassment of Israeli soldiers.
Faye, from Switzerland, had visited Israel several times in pursuit of her efforts to document alleged Israeli wrongdoing. However, she was deported in accordance with a deportation order from Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) at the end of July after being taken in for questioning upon arrival in Ben Gurion Airport.
In addition to Faye’s deportation, Deri and Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan established a team dedicated to deporting, or preventing the entry of, activists bent on promoting boycotts against the State of Israel.
According to Nati Rom, the general manager of ‘Lev B’Olam’, “The watchdog is the answer to the calls by Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan. This is a civilian initiative whose aim is to locate the activists arriving in Israel under the guise of a tourist and trying to sabotage the Zionist enterprise in Israel. We are here in order to receive as much information about them as possible.”
‘Lev B’Olam’ has already been operating for three years and has been undertaking efforts to combat BDS activities designed to delegitimize Israel. As part of its efforts, the organization engages in PR activities by sending its representatives to European capitals and to BDS hotspots.
The center operates from Sunday to Thursday between the hours of 9am and 4pm and has both Hebrew and English speakers. Callers are also able to send relevant footage, photographs and documents via email.
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