Israel’s main foreign intelligence body, the Mossad, may be involved in efforts to stymie the boycott movement against the Jewish state, according to information gleaned from a freedom of information request.
A consumer advocacy group, Hatzlacha, the Consumers’ Movement for the Promotion of a Fair Society and Economy, appealed under Israel’s freedom-of-information laws to publicize the workday calendars of Israeli ministers in 2018, in a bid to uncover links between top politicians and local and international business interests.
Among the revelations, according to a report Wednesday in the Haaretz daily: Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan held a meeting in 2018 with Mossad chief Yossi Cohen whose subject was listed as “the fight against the boycott movement.”
The exact date of the meeting was not given in the report.
Erdan also holds the post of minister of strategic affairs, a ministry that has struggled to define its purpose after it was created in 2006 to serve political coalition-building needs. In recent years, it has been repurposed as the cabinet-level agency responsible for tracking and developing policies to combat the boycott movement against Israel.
Queried by Haaretz, the ministry said the 2018 meeting constituted a “survey” in which Erdan shared the ministry’s work with Cohen.
But unnamed sources “with knowledge of the ministry’s activities” said the ministry “cooperates with the agency,” a reference to Mossad, Haaretz reported.
“Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan met during the last term with the heads of the security services to brief them on the ministry’s activities related to the fight against the delegitimization and boycott campaign,” the minister’s office said in a statement to Haaretz.
While Erdan’s main post of public security minister, who is responsible for the Israel Police and the prisons service, already puts him in touch with all Israel’s top security officials, his Strategic Affairs Ministry calendar showed meetings in that capacity with other security officials in 2018, including National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabbat.
The released calendar also reveals “many meetings” in 2018 linked to the establishment of the Concert company, a private, partly government-controlled company that was meant to engage in public campaigns, overt and covert, on social media and other platforms, to fight against anti-Israel campaigners.
The company was given some NIS 128 million ($36 million) in government funds in a cabinet decision last year, and is expected to match the amount with philanthropic giving from pro-Israel donors and organizations.