Justice minister said gearing up to sue Israel boycotters

Ayelet Shaked bolsters ministry’s international department in preparation for counter-BDS lawsuits worldwide, report says

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked at the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem, May 17, 2015 (Flash90/Dudi Vaknin, Pool)
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked at the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem, May 17, 2015 (Flash90/Dudi Vaknin, Pool)

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is reportedly going on the offensive against international initiatives to boycott Israel and is preparing to file lawsuits against activists who call for blacklisting the Jewish state.

The tactic came after a review by the international department of the Justice Ministry found that although boycott activists have appealed to many courts in Western countries for sanctions against Israel, they have never succeed in a obtaining a ruling in their favor, the Hebrew-language NRG news site reported on Wednesday.

Ministry officials believe that legal circumstances present the option of suing activists with civil and criminal law suits for damaging Israeli trade, for discrimination and racism, based on the laws in various countries, the report said.

Shaked was said to be putting together a plan of action and has already instructed that the number of positions in the international department be doubled so that it can push ahead with the program as soon as possible.

The legal campaign is to be integrated with a wider plan to combat the “delegitimization” of Israel being put together by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who also serves as Information Minister.

Shaked’s recent initiative is in keeping with statements made earlier this month by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the leader of her Jewish Home party, who said, “Let it be clear to any company or organization that’s considering boycotting us: We will hit back. We will attack our attackers. We will boycott our boycotters.

“The boycott weapon is a double-edged sword. If you’re thinking of boycotting Israel, keep in mind that there are tens of millions of Israel supporters around the world — Jews and non-Jews — with considerable buying power and boycott power,” he said. “Whoever boycotts Israel will be boycotted. Whoever hits Israel, will be hit back. We will no longer remain silent.”

Israeli officials have been spurred to action after recent gains by supporters of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel — known by the acronym BDS — that included comments by the director of a major French communication company that he is keen to pull out of a partnership with Israel, and a vote by British students to support the boycott movement.

On Monday, an Israeli advocacy group on Monday threatened legal action against Coca-Cola if it did not sever ties with its Palestinian subsidiary, whose owner has expressed support of the BDS movement.

Raphael Ahren and AFP contributed to this report.

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