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These Arabs want to help Israel fight the non-violent BDS campaign Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

These Arabs want to help Israel fight the non-violent BDS campaign

BDS is slowly gaining mainstream support in the United States [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 October, 2017

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After lobbying Western governments to pass laws to punish efforts for the BDS targeting Israel over its treatment of Palestinians, Israel has now recruited Arabs to fight the non-violent campaign.
After successfully lobbying Western governments to pass laws to punish efforts for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) targeting Israel over its treatment of Palestinians, Israel has now recruited Arabs to fight the non-violent campaign.

On Tuesday, Israeli press reports profiled Arab and Palestinian citizens of Israel they claimed were driven by their 'loyalty and love' for the state to join the anti-BDS effort.

According to the reports, these Arabs will join a 14-day trip that will leave on Saturday to the United States organised by the army-aligned Reservists on Duty (RoD) to "defend Israel’s reputation" on university campuses, amid growing support for BDS by students in the West.

They were named as Dima Tayeh, Kazem Khaliliya, Muhammad Kaabiya, Ram As'ad, Bassem Eid and Jonathan Khoury.

"The State of Israel is important to me personally and importantly to all the minorities living in it. I am happy to represent the state," Dima Tayeh, 25, identified as a Muslim Arab woman, told Ynet.

"There is a lot of hatred in the US and Europe for Israel. They think we live in the desert... I am the beautiful face of Israel," she claimed.

Kazem Khaliliya, 24, a Muslim Arab from the village of Iksal, echoed Dima. 

"I pay a heavy personal price for my opinions ... My cousin removed me from the house, another uncle refused to invite me to a wedding, and I was even removed from the family... I believe (Israel) is a Jewish and democratic state... I feel equal in everything and I have no sense of discrimination," he told Ynet.

"BDS is endangering the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians," claimed Bassem Eid, 59, a Palestinian from Beit Hanina in occupied East Jerusalem.

For his part, Jonathan Khoury, 25, a Haifa-based Christian Lebanese son of a South Lebanon Army, a Lebanese militia that collaborated with Israel during its occupation of south Lebanon, said: "This is a very important task. People will change their minds (about Israel) after meeting me."

The four will be joined on their trip by Ram As'ad, a 25-year-old Druze from Isfiya, and Muhammad Kaabiya, 27, from the Bedouin village of Kaabiya. They are both former IDF soldiers.

They will visit 12 universities in the United States and hold meetings in two additional open spaces.

RoD was established in 2015 by reservists who, as the group’s website says, “felt it was their duty to expose and counter the new anti-Semitism erupting on college campuses across America.”

Israel sees the BDS movement as a strategic threat and accuses it of anti-Semitism. The state recently passed a law banning BDS supporters from entering Israel.

The BDS movement, which denies any accusations of anti-Semitism and says this is a ploy used by Israel, calls for a global boycott of Israel, among other demands, until the country withdraws from all occupied Palestinian territories.

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