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Sun, sea and occupation: Israel mobilises the D-list celebrity Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Sun, sea and occupation: Israel mobilises the D-list celebrity

The government-paid trip was not political, officials claimed [AFP]

Date of publication: 4 January, 2017

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Israel's government has resorted to handing out all-expense paid trips to Tel Aviv to little known celebrities, as A-listers back the pro-Palestine Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

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Israel, BDS

Israel's desperate attempts to counter the popular pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement appears to be to invite everyone and anyone from the small screen for an all expense paid trip to Tel Aviv.

At least five "D-list celebrities" - as described by Israel's Haaretz newspaper - were invited to tour Israel as part of a new government public relations excercise. 

Those who took part in the trip included actors Daniel Dae Kim from TV show LostMeagan Good from DeceptionSonequa Martin-Green and Kenric Green from The Walking Dead and Mark Pellegrino from Dexter. 

They don't exactly rank among the ranks of pro-Palestine celebrities such as footballer Christiano Ronaldo, TV pundit Jon Stewart or chart-toppers Coldplay.

The aim of the minor celebrity parade was to "expose the complex reality of Israel without any biased mediation", according to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

"We see great importance in bringing influential people from diverse areas here in order to show them the truth about Israel," he said.

"We're building bridges between Israel and communities around the world in all spheres of life."

The stars landed in Tel Aviv last week and have spent the last few days posting images in "the Holy Land" on their social media platforms using the hashtag "VisitIsrael".

Although the government-paid trip attempted to avoid politics, several debates were stirred in the comments section of the posts, between members of both the Israeli and Palestinian camps.

The BDS movement calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions from Israeli companies worldwide to pressure Tel Aviv to comply with international law.

The movement has seen widespread success in recent years, with academics, universities and major companies backing the protest, along with a number of celebrities.

It has has prompted the Israeli leadership to criticise the movement, and look for way to add some shine to the country's seriously tarnished image since the election of a far-right government with ministers known for the vehement anti-two state solution views.

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