The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement blamed Israeli intelligence services over the weekend for a series of cyber attacks carried out against their movement’s websites in February and March.
A statement on the BDS movement’s main site claims that “around” six different BDS websites suffered distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in that time period.
The statement explained that that it used a technical report from eQualit.ie that confirms the attacks, though it does not indicate the identity of the attackers.
The movement states that the attacks were highly advanced, which indicates Israel’s direct involvement. Mahmoud Nawajaa, a senior BDS official, reportedly said,
“These attacks smack of Israel’s despair at its growing isolation around the world, after failing for years to stem the growing support for the nonviolent BDS movement as a strategic and effective means to achieve Palestinian rights under international law.”
Sima Vaknin-Gil is the director-general of the Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, which is the governmental body responsible for the fight against BDS. At the beginning of the year, she said that the ministry is interested in establishing “a community of fighters” to fight the BDS campaign.
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said during the Yedioth Ahronoth and Ynet anti-BDS conference in March that his ministry will fight the organization and its leaders and that Israel was moving to an offensive policy.
Erdan said at the conference, “We will do everything to expose the true intentions of BDS, who stands behind them and who funds them, so that the world will understand their intentions. Very soon, every BDS activist will know that they will pay a price for their actions.”
His ministry, which was de facto reestablished to fight against the de-legitimization of Israel and BDS in a government decision from October 2015. Erdan initially obtained a budget of 128 million shekels to fight the boycott movement. Recently, the ministry has finished finalizing its plans for the coming years and as the height of recruitment, obtaining some personnel from the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the Military Intelligence Directorate.
In the ministry’s reply to the State Comptroller’s report, they wrote, “Many quiet operations have been carried out over recent months that led to a series of accomplishments, operations that were intended to weaken de-legitimization organizations that are attempting to harm the country.”