Before the BDS law was passed by the Knesset in 2011 a number of Israeli academics have been involved in BDS activities. After the law, they stopped promoting BDS but did not renounce it.
Some have mounted legal challenges to the aspects of the BDS legislation and its bureaucratic management. For instance, recently Israeli academic BDS supporters have filed a request via Freedom of Information Act demanding the government reveals the methodology used in deciding to block entry to Israel of BDS activists. Rachel Giora, a linguist at Tel Aviv University and Kobi Snitz of the Weizmann Institute Department of Neurobiology are among four signatories of the information request which Adv. Eitay Mack filed to the Israeli Ministry of Interior and the Population and Immigration Authority.
The signatories compare the prevention of entry to BDS supporters to "the military juntas in Latin America and dictatorships in Africa which received security aid from Israel. " They also compare the denial of entry to "the case of U.S. citizen Charles Horman, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered immediately after Pinochet’s coup in Chile in 1973." Mack alleged that Horman was killed based on "being a radical left activist, transferred to the junta by U.S. intelligence agents."
The group has asked to receive from the Israeli government the "criteria and procedures that determined which person or organization was added to the blacklist; any protocols or decisions as to how a person or organization was added to the blacklist; any background information gathered on a person or an organization in advance of a decision to add them to the blacklist; details of persons and organizations on the blacklist; messages, appeals and correspondence with foreign entities (airlines, states, foreign security forces, etc.) regarding the blacklist, and persons and organizations on it".
Previously, the group of petitioners has asked the government to reveal its covert activities against the BDS movement. The group filed requests to both the Foreign Ministry and the Strategic Affairs Ministry, it asked the "government to reveal its financial support to foreign organizations, individuals, journalists or bloggers assisting Israel in its battle against what it calls “delegitimization.”"
The delegitimization of Israel by Israeli academics is not new, and the university authorities have not reacted because they fear an international backlash. Censuring activists who implicitly support boycott could tarnish a university's reputation in the eyes of the international academic community. As IAM documented, the international academic community threatened Israel with boycott after the Council of Higher Education published a scathing report on the Ben Gurion University's Dept. of Politics and Government. The CHE was forced to retreat its demands behind a flimsy face-saving solution, sending a clear message that activist faculty should be left alone.
This message has emboldened activists like the self-proclaimed anarchist Kobi Snitz, who has used his position as a faculty member of the Weizmann Institution to engage in anarchist activism.
In 2010 IAM reported that Snitz has served a 20-day jail sentence for hiding in a house slated for demolition in the village of Harbata in 2004, along with other activists from Anarchists Against the Wall. Snitz was convicted and fined NIS 2,000, "He decided not to pay the fine because he believes he did not do anything, so he went to jail," as reported by a fellow anarchist.
Snitz who is serving as a webmaster for a Washington D.C. tenants rights group (TENAC) has found an American platform to publicize his grievance. TENAC has published a press release stating that Snitz has apparently been “shot at, fined, jailed, and constantly harassed” for his peace activism. TENAC was "outraged" at these actions. "We strongly support his efforts to secure peace there. We also support the outstanding work of the North American Rabbis for Peace in Israel, who are engaged in the same hard, dangerous work.” One leader of TENAC said that there’s a direct correlation between affordable housing in the District and bulldozed houses in Gaza. “We have a loud voice here on tenant rights and the like... Tenants rights begs the whole rights question. This is a civil rights question in Israel.” The TENAC international outreach encompasses Arab and Israeli issues. There are 350,000 tenants that TENAC represents, about two-thirds of the population are people of Middle Eastern background, Arabs, Jews and others. "We are constantly made aware of the terrible hardships suffered by these populations. We have demonstrated against the murderous, genocidal rule of Bashar al Assad, who has virtually slaughtered his own nation, and we have also strongly supported the peace movement in Israel." What is troubling here is that TENAC likens Israel to other dictatorships in the region and uses Snitz as a symbol. Since the TENAC website says "TENAC is very indebted to Kobi Snitz, our website creator" and web administrator, it goes without saying that those of Middle Eastern origin could potentially be influenced by Snitz.
Snitz is the director also of Calyx Institute which aims to create an internet service provider that "keeps customer traffic private, away from prying governmental eyes." Calyx Institute provides services helping to avoid the National Security Agency monitoring. "Wouldn't it be nice if we were free to surf the web free from fear of having our traffic monitored and emails scraped by the NSA?"
IAM has repeatedly documented Snitz's extensive involvement in multiple anarchist activities in Israel and abroad. Being an anarchist is a full time job which probably requires overtime as well. Snitz can do all this and more because he receives a salary from the Weizmann Institute. His modest academic record for which he is paid indicates that the Weizmann Institute and the Israeli tax payers receive very little in return.
Israeli activists file freedom of information request regarding ‘blacklist’ of BDS supporters
Eitay Mack on July 27, 2017
I and other Israeli human rights activists, Sahar Vardi, Ofer Neiman, Rachel Giora and Kobi Snitz, filed a freedom of information request regarding the Israeli government’s recently revealed “blacklist” of BDS activist. The request for the list of names and the way in which this list was compiled was submitted to the Ministry of Interior and the Population and Immigration Authority.
The BDS blacklist was made public yesterday when Haaretz reported that Israel sent a foreign airline the names of seven international activists, of whom five were then denied boarding a plane at a Washington, DC airport. In response, Israel’s Ministry of Interior stated, “These are high profile activists who have promoted boycotts against Israel.”
According to an Israeli law passed in March banning the entry of foreign BDS activists is indeed legal by Israeli rules, but there are grave questions raised by the process in which the decisions on who to ban was made. As well, it is alarming that Israel gave a blacklist to a foreign airline, in this case, Lufthansa, who then prohibited the boarding of U.S. passengers in a U.S. airport. Meaning, the Israeli law to ban BDS activists was actually imposed in the U.S., not in Israel.
There is a risk of a slippery slope in Israel maintaining blacklists of international activists who were acting within the rights of free speech accorded to them in the state of their citizenship. The risk also applies to the sharing of lists with foreign entities and companies without any transparency offered to those individuals and the organizations who were put on the list.
Years before Israel approved the ban of foreign BDS activists, it passed a similar piece of legislation in 2011 aimed at Israeli citizens. In the Law for Prevention of Damage to the State of Israel through Boycott, the definition of what is a “boycott” is extremely vague. One fears that the black lists will be expanded and abused for political purposes by Israeli politicians and other Israeli elements that are interested in eliminating resistance to the Israeli occupation both in Israel and abroad.
While those involved in the recent case are U.S. citizens, there is a question as to whether Israel has also delivered a blacklist of names to non-democratic states that persecute human rights and opposition activists, thereby putting those potential people who could be on a list in harm’s way. Furthermore, there the question of reciprocity, i.e. mutual sharing of information and handling of activists whose names between countries. One recalls similar policies by the military juntas in Latin America and dictatorships in Africa which received security aid from Israel. One could also note the case of U.S. citizen Charles Horman, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered immediately after Pinochet’s coup in Chile in 1973, apparently based on information as to his being a radical left activist, transferred to the junta by U.S. intelligence agents.
Therefore, we have asked in our FOIA request to receive the criteria and procedures that determined which person or organization was added to the blacklist; any protocols or decisions as to how a person or organization was added to the blacklist; any background information gathered on a person or an organization in advance of a decision to add them to the blacklist; details of persons and organizations on the blacklist; messages, appeals and correspondence with foreign entities (airlines, states, foreign security forces, etc.) regarding the blacklist, and persons and organizations on it.
About Eitay Mack
Eitay Mack is an Israeli human rights lawyer and activist who is active in increased transparency and public scrutiny of Israeli security exports.
5 BDS activists prevented from boarding flight to Israel
Jewish Voice for Peace delegation told Israeli government ordered airline not to let them on board
July 25, 2017, 3:19 am 72
Five members of an interfaith delegation to Israel were prevented from boarding their flight from Washington, D.C., reportedly due to their activism on behalf of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
The Jewish Voice for Peace organization said in a statement Monday that the delegation tried to check into its Lufthansa flight at Dulles International Airport, only to be told that the Israeli government had ordered the airline not to let the five passengers aboard.
In March, the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, amended the Law of Entry to prevent leaders of the BDS movement from being allowed into Israel. The amendment applies to organizations that take consistent and significant action against Israel through BDS, as well as the leadership and senior activists of those groups.
Lufthansa spokesman Tal Muscal confirmed that the delegation members were not allowed to fly per the Israeli government’s request. Lufthansa was not made aware of the reason for the order.
Muscal said the airline must obey government requests like these to block passengers from boarding flights.
“We don’t know who these people are,” Muscal told JTA. “We have no information as to why the Israeli government does not want them to enter. We simply have to abide by the rules and regulations of every country in which we operate.”
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the incident.
Three of the activists were from JVP, including a rabbi. The other two delegation members prevented from boarding the flight were Rick Ufford Chase of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship in Rockland County, New York, and Shakeel Syed, a national board member with American Muslims for Palestine in Los Angeles.
The other 18 participants with the Interfaith Network for Justice in Palestine delegation arrived Monday morning in Israel and were allowed to enter after several hours of detention and questioning, according to JVP.
JVP states on its website that it supports boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
“Israel denied me the ability to travel there because of my work for justice for Palestinians, even though I’m Jewish and a rabbi,” Rabbi Alissa Wise said in the JVP statement. “I’m heartbroken and outraged. This is yet another demonstration that democracy and tolerance in Israel only extends to those who fall in line with its increasingly repressive policies against Palestinians.
Syed said in the statement that he had his boarding pass in hand when “the Lufthansa representative informed me that they had a direct order from ‘Israeli immigration authorities’ to not allow us to board the plane. Furthermore, they refused to even show us the Israeli order.”
JVP said it is believed to be the first time that the amendment has been enforced before passengers boarded their flights to Israel and the first time that Israel has denied entry to Jews, including a rabbi, for their support of BDS.
Following the passage of the Entry Law amendment, several groups that promote BDS planned to organize delegations to come to Israel and test the boundaries of the amendment.
An anti-BDS bill making its way through Congress would expand existing law that bans US companies from complying with unsanctioned foreign boycotts imposed by international governmental organizations (such as the UN or the EU).
תבחינים למניעת כניסה לישראל של פעילי חרם
תבחינים למניעת כניסה לישראל של פעילי חרם
ביום 13 באוקטובר 2015 החליטה ועדת השרים לענייני ביטחון לאומי כי המשרד לנושאים אסטרטגיים יגבש ויוביל את המערכה נגד הדה-לגיטימציה ותנועת החרמות, תוך תכלול ותיאום המאמצים של כלל הגורמים הרלוונטיים.
רשות האוכלוסין וההגירהיחידה:
מינהל מעברי גבולנושא:
בדיון שהתקיים בראשות שר הפנים והשר לנושאים אסטרטגיים ביום 6 באוגוסט 2016 הוחלט על הקמת צוות משותף למשרד הפנים ולמשרד לנושאים אסטרטגיים לבחינת סוגיית מניעת כניסה לישראל של פעילים המקדמים דה-לגיטימציה וחרמות נגד מדינת ישראל, וזאת כחלק ממערכה כוללת למאבק הדה-לגיטימציה ובחרמות נגד מדינת ישראל.
ביום 6 במרץ 2017 אישרה הכנסת בקריאה שניה ושלישית את תיקון מס' 28 לחוק הכניסה לישראל, התשי"ב - 1952, אשר קבע כי "לא יינתנו אשרה ורישיון ישיבה מכל סוג שהוא, לאדם שאינו אזרח ישראלי או בעל רישיון לישיבת קבע במדינת ישראל, אם הוא, הארגון או הגוף שהוא פועל בעבורם, פרסם ביודעין קריאה פומבית להטלת חרם על מדינת ישראל...".
עמדת המדינה היא כי קמפיין הדה לגיטימציה בכלל והחרמות בפרט נגד מדינת ישראל מציבים בטווח הבינוני-ארוך איום משמעותי לחוסנה ולביטחונה הלאומי של מדינת ישראל, אם לא יטופלו כראוי.
להלן פירוט התבחינים, אשר גובשו על ידי הצוות הבינמשרדי שהוקם בהתאם להחלטת השרים, ואושרו על ידי שר הפנים והשר לנושאים אסטרטגיים.
הכללתו של ארגון לצורך יישום הוראות החוק תעשה ככל שהארגון עונה על התבחין הבא:
תמיכה בחרמות וקידומם ע"י הארגון באופן אקטיבי, רציף ומתמשך. יודגש שעובדת היותו של ארגון אנטי-ישראלי או פרו-פלסטיני, או היותו בעל אג'נדה ביקורתית כלפי מדיניות ממשלת ישראל, אינה מהווה, כשלעצמה, עילה כדי למנוע כניסה לישראל.
סירוב כניסה של פעילים ייאכף הן כלפי פעילים בארגונים שזוהו לפי התבחינים שלעיל, והן כלפי פעילים עצמאיים, שעונים על אחד מהתבחינים הבאים:
נושאי תפקידים בכירים או משמעותיים בארגונים - ממלאי תפקידים רשמיים בכירים בארגונים הבולטים (כגון, יו"ר וחברי דירקטוריון). הגדרת התפקידים תשתנה בהתאם לאופיו של כל ארגון.
פעילים מרכזיים – אנשים הנוקטים בפעילות ממשית, עקבית ורציפה לקידום חרמות במסגרת ארגוני הדה-לגיטימציה הבולטים או באופן עצמאי.
גורמים ממסדיים (כגון ראשי ערים) המקדמים חרמות באופן אקטיבי ומתמשך.
"גורמים מטעם" - פעילים שמגיעים לישראל מטעם אחד מארגוני הדה-לגיטימציה הבולטים. לדוגמה, פעיל המגיע כמשתתף במשלחת מטעם ארגון דה-לגיטימציה בולט.
על אף האמור לעיל, במקרים חריגים, ישנה אפשרות כי הגורמים המקצועיים ימליצו על אישור כניסתו לישראל של אדם אשר עונה על הקריטריונים האמורים, דהיינו אדם שאמור לכאורה להיות מסורב. מקרים אלו יאובחנו כמקרים בהם מידת הנזק של סירוב כניסתו של אדם משיקולי קידום חרמות עולה על התועלת מסירוב כניסתו. מקרים חריגים אלו יכולים להיות:
הזמנות רשמיות של מדינת ישראל;
Israelis seek to uncover government’s secret war against BDS
A group of Israeli citizens is seeking information on their government’s covert activities against the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
Meanwhile, the Israeli embassy in London has warned in a leaked cable that some of Israel’s tactics against the BDS movement may violate UK law.
Attorney Eitay Mack and human rights activists Sahar Vardi, Ofer Neiman, Rachel Giora and Kobi Snitz have filed requests under Israel’s freedom of information law, to both the foreign ministry and the strategic affairs ministry.
They are asking the government to reveal its financial support to foreign organizations, individuals, journalists or bloggers assisting Israel in its battle against what it calls “delegitimization.”
The strategic affairs ministry, led by Likud minister Gilad Erdan, has taken the lead, gearing up to fight the nonviolent BDS movement as if it were a military challenge.
Armed with a $45 million budget for this year, the ministry is engaging in what a veteran Israeli analyst is calling “black ops.”
This may include defamation campaigns, harassment and threats to the lives of activists as well as infringing on and violating their privacy, according to the analyst.
“We want most of the [strategic affairs] ministry’s work to be classified,” its director general Sima Vaknin-Gil recently told the transparency committee of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.
Earlier this month, Erdan’s ministry and the Association of University Heads of Israel were linked to a “secret” effort to push for the cancellation of a course on Palestine at the University of California, Berkeley.
The course was suspended, but later reinstated after an outcry from students, faculty and defenders of academic freedom.
“The sweeping secrecy exercised by both ministries is inappropriate, especially in view of the Israeli government’s position regarding human rights organizations supported financially by foreign countries,” the Israeli citizens said in a press release.
Earlier this year Israel adopted a so-called transparency law forcing human rights groups to reveal foreign government funding. Critics say the law is meant to brand human rights groups as illegitimate and chill criticism of Israel’s record.
Under the freedom of information law, the Israeli ministries have 120 days to respond. If they reject the requests, the citizens seeking the information can file an appeal in court.
Using Jewish groups
The information request comes as a cable, leaked to the newspaper Haaretz, has cast more light on the covert efforts against BDS.
The cable from the Israeli embassy in London to the Israeli foreign ministry complains about the activities of Erdan’s strategic affairs ministry.
It accuses the ministry of “operating” British Jewish organizations behind the embassy’s back in a way that could put them in violation of UK law.
The context is a turf war between the two ministries over who should get more money and authority to lead the fight against BDS.
The foreign ministry has so far been on the losing end of that bureaucratic battle.
As Haaretz reports, the cable reveals that the embassy met with Erdan’s officials during his visit to London two weeks ago “to coordinate activities against the local boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”
The embassy officials emphasized that while they would coordinate with Erdan’s operation, only the foreign ministry would work directly with people or organizations overseas.
Haaretz says Erdan’s officials agreed “not to pose as the embassy.”
“Behind our backs”
But just days later, according to Haaretz, Asher Friedman, a senior strategic affairs ministry official, “asked a senior official in Britain’s Jewish community to use his connections to thwart an anti-Israel campaign by the Palestinians.”
“Attempts to act behind our back have happened before and will again, but ‘operating’ Jewish organizations directly from Jerusalem, with no coordination and no consultation, is liable to be dangerous,” the embassy cable said.
“Operating like this could encounter opposition from the organizations themselves, given their legal status; Britain isn’t the US,” the cable added.
It also warned that such behavior “could be considered political activity, or even activity on behalf of a foreign government on British soil,” Haaretz states.
The leak would seem to confirm that the Israeli government increasingly views Jewish organizations and communities abroad as mere extensions of its state propaganda apparatus.
This is unlikely to do much to tamp down criticism of Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians, but it does pose a danger to Jews who do not wish to be identified with a foreign government that is increasingly seen as a pariah.
Notably, as Haaretz reports, it was the British Jewish official himself who “immediately voiced his objections to the embassy, both orally and in writing, as well as to the heads of other British Jewish organizations.”
TENAC’s international outreach has also focused special attention on the Middle East, not merely because it is the center of perhaps the greatest international threat facing the U.S., but because it encompasses both Arab and Israeli issues, of special relevance to TENAC. Among the 350,000 tenants TENAC represents, fully two-thirds of the city’s population, are a significant number of people of Middle Eastern background and heritage--Arabs, Jews and many others. We are constantly made aware of the terrible hardships suffered by these populations. We have demonstrated against the murderous, genocidal rule of Bashar al Assad, who has virtually slaughtered his own nation, and we have also strongly supported the peace movement in Israel. TENAC’s co-founder, Farouk Youssef, a distinguished Egyptian and champion of democracy in Egypt and everywhere else, has been a long-time tenants’ rights leader in the District... Another key TENAC person reflecting our basic mission for Affordable Housing, Rent Control, and Tenants’ Rights, is Kobi Snitz, our webmaster, an indispensable part of TENAC. Along with the outstanding assistance of Marlon Kautz of Atlanta, Georgia, another IT genius, who gallantly espouses the tenant and other progressive causes there, Kobi brilliantly runs our website from Tel Aviv, Israel, where he also teaches math at the Technion. Kobi has also inspired our international bent and our strong interest in peace and human rights. A native of Israel, Kobi is a legend in his own right as an exceptional and indefatigable fight for peace in Israel. He has helped shape TENAC’s international bent as well. He has been a catalyst driving our protest against Middle Eastern tyrannies People like these epitomize great commitment to TENAC’s basic mission: Rent Control, Affordable Housing, Tenants’ Rights, human rights and TENAC’s enlarged mission overseas. Farouk and Kobi, TENAC stalwarts, who have personally experienced grave injustice abroad, and courageously seek to alleviate it, along with so many others in TENAC motivated by that same passion, gallantly reflect the widespread wishes and views of so many TENAC members who devoutly seek peace throughout the Middle East and everywhere else. They and so many others in our ranks personify TENAC at its best. TENAC members have generously contributed financially to the cause of Arab and Israeli peace, and to those fighting against tyranny elsewhere in the Middle East, especially those suffering under the brutal yoke of Bashar al Assad in Syria. Significant TENAC donations have been given to organizations committed to those goals. They include, among several others, North American Rabbis for Peace in Israel, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for peace in Syria and throughout the Middle East.
D.C. Tenants, Standing Up for Palestine?
JUN 18, 2010 6 PM 5
The D.C. Tenants Advocacy Coalition (TENAC) is the only organization in D.C. that claims to represent the rights of all tenants on a variety of issues. While groups like the Latino Economic Development Corporation, Mi Casa, and Housing Counseling Services do direct tenant organizing, education, and policy work, TENAC primarily serves as a megaphone, hosting well-attended candidate forums and testifying at most every hearing that has anything to do with renters rights.Which is why a recent email blast seemed incongruous:AN URGENT BIBLICAL MESSAGEFOR THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT:“BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS, FOR THEYSHALL BE CALLED THE CHILDREN OF GOD”The defiant press release describes the work of TENAC's Israeli webmaster, Kobi Snitz, who runs the site from Israel and has apparently been "shot at, fined, jailed, and constantly harassed" for his peace activism. "TENAC is outraged at these actions," i reads. "We strongly support his efforts to secure peace there. We also support the outstanding work of the North American Rabbis for Peace in Israel, who are engaged in the same hard, dangerous work."What interest does a D.C. tenants rights group have in advocating for peace in the Middle East? TENAC leader Jim McGrath, who is retired from a career working at the Library of Congress, says that he has indeed been getting some flak from members—but that they're not stopping anytime soon."We say too bad," McGrath told Housing Complex. "If you have your number one person who runs your web, if you can't go to bat to that person, you better fold up your tent."TENAC, which seems to be registered as a tenants association, operates on a shoestring budget of around $2,000 a year. Still, McGrath pushes relentlessly for tenants rights—Councilmember Jim Graham got the idea for the recently-passed Tenant Organization Petition Standing Act at a TENAC meeting—and to strengthen rent control. And McGrath says there's a direct correlation between affordable housing in the District and bulldozed houses in Gaza."We have a loud voice here on tenant rights and the like," he says. "Tenants rights begs the whole rights question. This is a civil rights question in Israel."
Calyx Institute to create ISP that keeps customer traffic private, away from prying governmental eyes
Kobi Snitz, Director
Submitted by admin on Sun, 02/17/2013 - 4:22pm
Kobi Snitz has a Bachelor's of Science in Computer Science, Physics and Math from the University of Toronto. He also holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Maryland. Early in his undergraduate studies in the early 1990's, Kobi has been introduced to the fundamental questions of computer science. These range from questions of computability and the future of computing to questions about computers and society. These interests have led him to volunteer as an administrator and editor at The Independent Media Center and also motivate his current work in a Neurobiology lab.