Europe

British Minister: Boycotting Israel is an Attack on the Jewish Right to National Sovereignty

Britain’s Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove, said at a global anti-Semitism conference in Berlin on Monday that the anti-Israel boycott movement has adopted “methods of apartheid” against Israel by singling out the Jewish state for condemnation.

“Israel is dealing with a prejudiced, systematic attack against its existence,” Gove said at the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism Conference.

The BDS movement, which claims that it is working against apartheid, in retrospect is using methods of apartheid in that it calls for the shunning of Jewish academics, the boycott of Jewish goods, the de-legitimization of Jewish commerce. It is up to us to show solidarity with the Jews and with their right to national sovereignty.

“Modern anti-Semitism finds a home in far too many hearts,” Gove added, noting that there were 924 anti-Semitic attacks reported in Britain in 2015, the third-highest total ever recorded.

There are those on the radical left whose purported sympathy for Arab suffering never results in campaigning against Middle East autocrats, but always in opposition to Israel.

There are those on the extreme right whose dark prejudices have never been extinguished and who now use opposition to globalisation to revive old anti-Semitic tropes.

And there are Islamist extremists who want to undermine what they see as the Zionist-crusader state and rail against Jewish influence everywhere.

We need to stand against them all – and any who might be persuaded by their arguments – in solidarity with the Jewish people – and in solidarity with their right to national self-determination.

“There is a duty on all of us in public life to speak out,” he added.

Gove also told Israel’s former justice minister and peace negotiator Tzipi Livni that the British government is committed to fighting efforts by anti-Israel activists to file legal claims that Israeli officials traveling to Britain are war criminals or guilty of crimes against humanity.

Livni also spoke at the conference, saying that “Anti-Semitism wears the costume of criticism of Israeli policy….BDS succeeds because people don’t understand that the organization doesn’t exist to help the Palestinians, nor does it protest against specific Israeli policy, rather it is in complete opposition to the existence of the State of Israel. Instead of giving BDS the opportunity to isolate Israel, we should isolate BDS.”

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed dismay over the number of anti-Semitic incidents that occurred during Israel’s war against Hamas in 2014. “Not even dramatic military violence in Gaza justifies the explosion of anti-Semitism like what was seen then,” he said. “Those who live with us short or long term must understand that anti-Semitism is against our constitution, against our civilization — against everything we believe in and everything we have learned. Coming to live in Germany means recognizing the need to fight against anti-Semitism. It’s unacceptable to give anti-Semitism a voice.”

Last October, the British government condemned a letter signed by 343 university professors calling for an academic boycott of Israel.

Co-founder of the BDS movement Omar Barghouti, who opposes the two-state solution, said in 2014 that Palestinians have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance,” while leading BDS activist As’ad Abu Khalil acknowledged two years prior that “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel.”

[Photo: Liberty Channel / YouTube ]