Report: Israeli public security minister plans database of Israeli citizens supporting BDS

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s public security minister plans to set up a database of Israeli citizens involved in supporting boycotts against Israel or West Bank settlements.

Gilad Erdan, the minister of public security and strategic affairs, whose office is responsible for co-ordinating Israel’s response to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, reportedly has been trying to implement the plan for several months, Haaretz reported Tuesday, citing unnamed senior Israeli officials.

The officials cited in the article also said that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is “vehemently opposed” to the proposal, saying that the ministry does not have the legal authority to collect such information on Israeli citizens, even though Erdan has said the information would come from public platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Erdan has already set up an intelligence unit to collect information on foreign BDS activists. Earlier this month, Israel’s Knesset passed a law barring entry to foreigners who publicly call for boycotting Israel or the settlements. The law is aimed at those active in organizations that support BDS, and would not block individuals for something they may have said, the law’s supporters said at the time of its passage.

The database proposal came up during a security Cabinet meeting last week that dealt with the government battle against BDS, Haaretz reported, citing a senior official who said Erdan at the meeting said that the database is needed since many Israeli citizens are involved in encouraging boycotts against Israel and co-operate with foreign BDS activists.

Erdan reportedly said he would only target “significant” BDS activists, a total of a few dozen people.

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