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Pro-BDS Websites Being Targeted by Widespread, Systematic Cyber Attacks;

Cybersecurity Firms Stumped by Identity of AttackersCyber-security companies are working to uncover the culprits in a range of cyber attacks against anti-Israel websites, VICE News reported on Thursday.

According to the report, websites affiliated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement are being targeted with various techniques aimed at taking them offline, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, in what appears to be a widespread, targeted campaign. The systematic attacks against the websites were uncovered by Canadian-based cybersecurity firm Deflect Labs, which offers its free services to protect the websites of independent media, human rights organizations and activists from cyber attacks.

According to a brief released by the firm on Thursday, the attacks show “a level of sophistication and commitment not generally seen on the Deflect network.” The firm has received some $500,000 in funding from the Canadian government.

In one instance, hackers targeted the main website for the Palestinian BDS National Committee — BDSmovement.net — with a DDoS attack, using tens of thousands of IP addresses to send a large surge of traffic, overloading the website and thereby shutting it down. DDoS attacks, VICE notes, “are generally considered to be more of a nuisance than an outright declaration of war…but for small activist groups like those that make up the BDS movement, a targeted DDoS attack could be ruinous.”

Reacting to Deflects findings, Mahmoud Nawajaa, general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, said in a statement on Thursday:

These latest cyber-attacks against BDS seem to be part of a full-fledged Israeli war on the movement that includes McCarthyite legal repression, use of intelligence services and yet more funding for ‘brand Israel’ propaganda. These attacks smack of Israel’s despair at its growing isolation around the world, after failing for years to stem the growing support for the nonviolent BDS movement as a strategic and effective means to achieve Palestinian rights under international law.

Deflect said that while it was unable to prove all the attacks originated from the same source, they were able to link some of the attacks together.

The BDS movement has become a major source of concern for the government of Israel. In February, the Associated Press revealed that the Israeli government allocated $26 million to combat anti-Israel activity online. “I want to create a community of fighters,” said Sima Vaknin-Gil, the director general of Israel’s Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy.

On Tuesday, 1,500 people gathered at the UN in opposition to the BDS movement at the Ambassadors Against BDS International Summit. At the event, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said the main goal of the BDS movement is “bringing an end to the Jewish state” and called the movement “the true face of modern antisemitism.”Schermata 2016 06 04 alle 10.17.56

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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