Sporting the URL boycotteurovision.net Israel's PR website masquerades as part of a campaign to boycott the Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv, but actually features pro-Israel narrative.
For most people who follow the issue, the acronym ‘BDS' refers to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which aims to financially pressure Israel into improving treatment of Palestinians. However, according to a new website promoted via ads on Google, it now stands for how Israel is "beautiful, diverse, sensational."
Despite the deceptive URL and the fact that the page doesn't identify itself as run by the Israeli government, Tel Aviv's PR ministry confirmed to Reuters that they were behind the campaign.
Gilad Erdan (Minister of Strategic Affairs) said that the ads and website "show Israel as it really is, a diverse, beautiful and sensational place, while at the same time, successfully dispelling the lies BDS spreads."
Meanwhile, with less than a week to go before the Eurovision takes place in Tel Aviv, the actual Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has been ramping up its efforts to encourage people to snub the competition. They were none too pleased with the Israeli government's latest counter-measure.
"After its theft of Palestinian land and culture, Israel is now trying to appropriate a symbol of our nonviolent resistance," said Alia Malak, of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
This desperate and crude propaganda is straight out of apartheid South Africa's playbook.
Although the competition is intended to bring countries around the world together, the contest has been politicized a number of times.
Last year's winner, Israel's Netta Barzilai, yelled out "Next time in Jerusalem!" after receiving the trophy for her spirited chicken-themed song ‘Toy'. The statement was seen as controversial given that not even the US had yet recognized Jerusalem as the country's capital.
Although Israel has pulled out all the stops to assure the event will go smoothly, it comes shortly after cross-border shelling between Israel and Palestine in Gaza earlier this week. Four Israelis were killed and at least 10 injured as a result of rockets fired from Gaza, while the IDF carried out some 320 air-raids which killed 25 people and injured dozens.