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April 20, 2016 8:51 am

Israeli Air Force Officer on Need to Confront BDS: ‘Israel’s Legitimacy at Stake’

avatar by Lea Speyer

IAF Brig. Gen. Yaron Rosen. Photo: Israel Air Force.

IAF Brig. Gen. Yaron Rosen. Photo: Israel Air Force.

The Jewish state is not perfect, and supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement use any mistake “as an excuse to say Israel does not have the right to exist,” the head of a branch of the Israel Air Force (IAF) told The Algemeiner.

According to IAF Commander of the Air Support and Helicopters Division Brig. Gen. Yaron Rosen, “Israel’s legitimacy is at stake. We have to take care of this, and we’re not doing a good job. There is a lot of ignorance, and things are being simplified in a bad way.” Rosen made this comment last week after an IAF Foundation-sponsored forum in New York, which also featured former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton.

Referring to the BDS movement, which has gained momentum across college campuses around the world — with student governments adopting divestment resolutions — Rosen said, “People are getting mixed up between the problems Israel has as a sovereign state and the basic right of Israel to exist, which are two different things.”

Rosen said it’s true that his country faces constant challenges. However, he said, “Thank God Israel is a democracy and has a high court of law. Yes, mistakes can happen; things happen. Nor are we saying Israel is perfect.” But supporters of BDS “act hypocritically in their demands on Israel.”

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“The basic question is, ‘Us or them [BDS activists]?’ And guess what? I prefer us. Israel has to be very consistent and persistent in what we do, because there is no easy solution between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea,” Rosen said, referring to the territory of the historical land of Israel that is disputed by the Palestinians. (The chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free,” is common at BDS rallies.)

“No one has to give Israel a lesson in morality,” he said. “The BDS movement only focuses on the negative, failing to acknowledge those positive gestures aimed towards peace with the Palestinians.” Pointing to the 2005 disengagement, he said, “Israel is the one that got out of Gaza. I haven’t seen a single nation in the world do what Israel has done after all it has gone through in trying to give a chance to people [who commit violence against it].”

When it comes to countering BDS, Rosen said, “We need to do more in talking with the young, so they’re not swayed by these really ignorant people who harm Israel’s name and basic right to exist.”

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