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June 8, 2015 2:50 pm

Former Israeli Ambassador Says BDS is Motivated by Antisemitism and Fueled by Ignorance

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

Email a copy of "Former Israeli Ambassador Says BDS is Motivated by Antisemitism and Fueled by Ignorance" to a friend
Israel boycotters. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israel boycotters. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Antisemitism is the motor of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and ignorance is largely responsible for keeping it running, an Israeli diplomat argued in a piece for an Israeli think tank on Sunday.

The best way to fight it, therefore, is through a proactive campaign of providing historical facts, figures and the reality on the ground, wrote former ambassador Freddy Eytan for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

“Of course it is legitimate to criticize the policies of a government, but the BDS movement goes far beyond legitimate criticism, and in essence calls for the dismantling of the Jewish state,” wrote Eytan, referring to the Israel boycott movement by its common acronym. “How to fight against antisemitism when incitement to hatred of Israel and Jews is rapidly spread by globalization and social media?”

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Eytan went on to describe how the divestment movement dates back to the Arab boycott of Israel, which began with the Jewish state’s founding in 1948 and continues more or less to this day.

Eytan’s main concern is whether what has been a mostly marginal BDS movement, which he says began in 2005, is fast undergoing a processes of international legitimacy.

In other words, as the CEO of a French mobile giant comes under fire for remarks perceived as signalling support for a boycott of business with Israel, and as American billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban, normally on opposite sides of the U.S. political playing field, convoke an emergency meeting to discuss ways to combat BDS, is the movement fast on its way to affecting how global policy makers perceive their relationship with Israel amid the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians.

Eytan called for a proactive approach that involves combating BDS with “historical facts, figures, and irrefutable evidence on the ground,” especially in a world where “hypocrisy, prejudice, and ignorance often prevail.”

He says pro-Israel activists must work tooth and nail to fight the “false propaganda” espoused by the movement.

His comments underline increasing concern in Israel over BDS, which spiked with Orange CEO Stephan Richard’s comment about ending business ties with the company’s Israeli partner, though Richard has since argued his comments were misinterpreted.

French President Francois Hollande on Sunday evening told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he opposed efforts to boycott Israel and expressed a desire to maintain economic ties.

On Sunday, Israel’s Yesh Atid Party Chairman Yair Lapid, the former finance minister, declared that the BDS campaign was orchestrated by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called BDS “antisemitism in a new guise.”

President of the World Jewish Congress, Ron Lauder, declared on Sunday at the Jerusalem Post conference in New York that “the BDS movement is a very smart media campaign directed against Israel.”

“Its not directed against the settlement issue as it claims. It seeks to destroy the state, its economy and its very legitimacy. BDS offers no answers. They want a one-state solution and that one state is not a Jewish state,” said Lauder.

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  • michael fisher

    i am tired of hearing the constant refrain from Israeli officials and American Jews and just about everyone else that starts out; “Of course it is legitimate to criticize the policies of a government, but …”
    Why do we have to give people, nations, the media etc a licesnce to pick on Israel with this constant barage that aids, if not partners with, people who want to destroy Israeli and people who want to create “justice” for Palestinians no matter what the results might be to Israel or the world in terms of creating one more Mideast unstable state right next to Israels throat.

    Lets say rather, it is legitimate to criticise the policies of a state if you are not singling it out amoung democratic states and implying that it is worse than other states, if you are not sigleing it out above the widespread and far more significant horrors of the dozens of dictatorships and non democracies in the world. If you are not singling it out above China in tibet, above Iran, the arab world, Sudan, North Korea and the dozens of lawless actions by other countries in the world and the hundreds of thousands of deaths these counties commit constantly and unquestioned. Why do you buy vacation homes in the part of Cyprus stolen by Turkey and criticize Israel. Why do you go ballistic about one Palasitian killed and not hundreds of thousands in dozens of countries. STOP SINGLING OUT ISRAEL and giving the pass to the horrers of the Arab and Palestinian movements against it.
    Stop treating Palestinians different that the dozens of populations in the world who need help more. Stop giving them special UN departments and billions of dollars to maintain their terorrism and aggression against Israel.

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