Netanyahu: Those who boycott Israel are anti-Semites
It's time for Israel to 'fight back' and 'delegitimize the delegitimizers,' prime minister tells Conference of Presidents.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that those who boycott Israel are anti-Semites.
Speaking at the Conference of Presidents, Netanyahu told a group of visiting Jewish-American leaders that it is time for Israel to "fight back" and "delegitimize the delegitimizers."
•Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter
There are increasing concerns in Israel over a Palestinian-led movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). The boycott has been growing recently, mainly in Europe, where some businesses and pension funds have cut investments or trade with Israeli firms they say are connected to West Bank settlements.
"In the past anti-Semites boycotted Jewish businesses and today they call for the boycott of the Jewish state, and by the way, only the Jewish state," Netanyahu said. "I think that it is important that the boycotters be exposed for what they are, they are classical anti-Semites in modern garb," Netanyahu said.
But Netanyahu, citing in particular Israel's cybersecurity industry, said the heads of international high-tech companies he has met "all want the same three things: Israeli technology, Israeli technology and Israeli technology".
"The capacity to innovate is a great treasure of profound economic value in today's world," he said. "And that is something that is bigger than all these boycotters could possibly address."
Many Israelis say the boycott has strong anti-Semitic connotations and is meant to delegitimize the Jewish state as a whole and not merely a pressure tactic against its policies toward the Palestinians.
For many Israelis, the boycott conjures up dark images of the Nazi boycott prior and during WWII when Jewish academics were kicked out of universities and Jewish businesses were vandalized and boycotted.
BDS activists say they promote different objectives, with some focusing on a boycott of the settlements and others saying everything Israeli must be shunned until there is a peace deal. BDS supporters argue that Israel will withdraw from war-won lands only if it has a price to pay. Israeli leaders dismiss such claims, pointing to their willingness to negotiate a land-for-peace deal with the Palestinians.
Ynet news link