For years, she had been a high-ranking officer with an Israeli spy agency.
This means that for the last two years a former intelligence officer has been running Israel’s global war against BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
They were last month revealed to have spent huge sums creating anti-BDS propaganda targeting social media and news media.
It should be a big wake up call to all defenders of free speech and human rights when a peaceful civil society campaign is targeted by spy agencies responsible for hacking, torture, kidnapping and murder in Palestine and around the world.
An extensive search turned up just one article – a December 2015 interview with arms industry magazine Israel Defense – discussing her career in intelligence.
That interview was on the eve of her appointment as the top civil servant in what is effectively Israel’s anti-BDS ministry. It revealed she had spent more than 20 years as a spy in Israeli air force intelligence, rising to the rank of brigadier general – a position she still holds as a reservist.
During that time, the magazine stated, she worked “closely with US officials and the highest ranking officers of Israeli intelligence.”
In 2005, she started her decade-long run as chief military censor, a role that required regular coordination with Israel’s top spies and military leaders, including the head of military intelligence, the chief of Mossad and the chief of the army’s general staff.
“Flood the internet”“I want to create a community of fighters,” Vaknin-Gil said soon after her appointment to the strategic affairs ministry.
She said she planned to “flood the internet” with Israeli propaganda that would be publicly distanced from the government.
More recently, at a Jerusalem Post conference, she announced in passing that she came “from the intelligence in the IDF,” the Israeli military.
Vaknin-Gil conceded that BDS activists’ human rights arguments are so compelling at the grassroots in Europe and the US that “over there, unless we will do something, we will lose.”
She credited supporters of Palestinian rights with “acting very, very smartly.”
Palestine solidarity activists “are fighting for the hearts and minds of grassroots,” she said, and asserted, “we just woke up [to BDS] and we have to do it very fast.”
BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti told The Electronic Intifada that Israel had failed to win “the battle for hearts and minds at the grassroots level.”