Ministry of Strategic Affairs, David Hirsh

An asset of the ‘state of Israel’? In 2015 the Ministry of Strategic Affairs was given the job of lead ministry for challenging the Palestine solidarity movement.

The Ministry led by Gilad Erdan, and run by a former military intelligence officer used overt and covert methods to sabotage and delegitimate activist groups and individuals, it smeared supporters of BDS as ‘terrorists’, it recruited troll armies and it trained activists to dig up Kompromat and smear supporters of Palestinian liberation.

On participant in this effort has been David Hirsh a sociologists based at Goldsmiths College in London. He has been involved for decades in supporting key foreign policy objectives of the Zionist entity. Hirsh is a former member of the Zionist-Trotskyist sect the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty who regards himself as part of the ‘democratic left tradition’, though he also says he has ‘no objection to being recognized as a Jew or as a Zionist’.

In 2006 Hirsh established Engage a campaign explicitly focused on combating BDS, which focused solely on alleged antisemitism. It has been claimed that Zionist lobby groups - the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council - funneled £50,000 to Engage, which challenge the idea it was a grassroots campaign.

Hirsh later denied this. Also in 2006 Hirsh helped develop the ‘Euston Manifesto’ concerned with countering opposition to the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. In 2007 he received funds from the Rothschild family charity Hanadiv to study anti-Zionism and antisemitism. In 2008 and 2009, Hirsh travelled to Jerusalem to attend the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism, hosted by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His speech at the 2008 Forum, predicted the ‘main manifestation of antisemitism in the near future is going to be conspiracy theory’.

In previously secret documents disclosed by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs under information legislation, it was revealed that millions had been spent on funding a network of front groups to promote the regime. One was the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, based in New York, which received $445,000 in 2018 - nearly 80% of its reported revenue that year. It failed to disclose this payment publically. The funds were earmarked for the groups annual seminar at Oxford University in the UK. David Hirsh spoke at both the 2018 and 2019 events. A Ministry of Strategic Affairs subvention was not mentioned by ISGAP in either year.

Palestine Declassified has searched the publications of David Hirsh over the last two decades and found no conflict of interest disclosures by him referencing any money, expenses or hospitality received from the Zionist movement or directly from the regime. He regularly denounces the idea of secret conspiracies in support of Israel, while appearing to involve himself directly in such activities as an asset of the Zionist regime.

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