Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs said on Tuesday that the international movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) does not pose a threat to the Jewish state’s economy and simultaneously likened the pro-boycott advocates to Nazis.
“From an economic perspective, the so-called BDS [movement] has been a failure,” Gilad Erdan told an investment conference of over 500 evangelical Christian business people and church leaders in Tel Aviv. The event was sponsored by Israeli government and the International Christian Chamber of Commerce.
“Foreign direct investment in Israel continues to rise, our credit rating is at its highest level ever, we have more startups per capita than any other country, and just last month we had a record number of tourists,” he said.
The BDS campaign is a coalition of organizations inspired by the anti-apartheid movement who say they are using nonviolent means to promote the Palestinian struggle for independence and encourage international economic and political pressure against Israel.
“The BDS extremists can’t stand the notion that Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze, are working together in peace,” Erdan told the audience, claiming that the only people to suffer from the boycott were Palestinians who could potentially lose their jobs in “joint Israeli-Palestinian industrial zones.”
In the same speech, Erdan also equated BDS advocates with Nazis who had supported the boycott of Jewish businesses in Nazi Germany.
“Just as the Nazi Party called for a boycott of Jewish businesses as a first step in their plans to wipe out the Jewish people, so too the BDS campaign calls for the boycott of the Jewish state as a means to wipe it off the map,” he said.
Erdan said that “as Hitler explained in his book”, referring to Mein Kampf, “if you repeat a big lie long enough, people will come to believe it. The big lie that Hitler repeated was that the Jews were responsible for all of Germany’s problems. The big lie the BDS movement is repeating is that the Jewish state is responsible for all of the Middle East’s – in fact, all of the world’s – problems.”
The Israeli government has allocated the ministry tens of millions of dollars in an effort to assist the ongoing strategy at quelling the BDS movement. As part of the approach, Erdan has sought to prohibit a number of prominent left-wing activists who have been outspoken in their criticism of Israel’s policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians to be interrogated at the border.
In the most recent case yet, Palestinian-American student Lara Alqasam who had been granted a visa to study on a masters program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was denied entry into Israel over her alleged support for BDS. After challenging the decision and being held in custody for 12 days at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport, the High Court of Justice overruled the state’s deportation order.
Alqasem’s case has been one of the most public since a 2017 Israeli law permitted authorities banning entry to supporters of the BDS movement.
The BDS campaign also includes academic and cultural boycotts of Israel, which means that any event attended by an Israeli scholar or artist is to be ignored or even obstructed. Former Pink Floyd former frontman Roger Waters repeatedly discourages musicians from performing in the Jewish State.
By: i24 News
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