June 4, 2015
In Blog News
Knesset holds special session about BDS campaign gaining momentum; Lapid tells Ynet: Boycott of settlement products could lead to boycott of all Israel products.
The Knesset held a special session Wednesday about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel after the UK’s National Union of Students voted in favor of joining the movement.
“This is anti-Semitism in a new guise with the same symptoms,” said Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
Shaked’s speech was accompanied by a lot of vocal comments from the other MKs. “There is a de-legitimization campaign against Israel happening right now. These are ephemeral organizations and we need to stop cooperating with them and cut ties, have them pay for their boycotts,” Shaked said.
She then turned to members of the opposition saying, “Open your eyes and ears. In 2012, the UN General Assembly approved 22 resolutions against Israel compared to four against the rest of the world countries. This is a campaign of lies and threats and you (Meretz MKs) were standing at the podium reading quotes from Breaking the Silence, an organization which is slandering Israel and damaging it.”
Shaked speaking at the Knesset.
“Today, it’s ‘super in’ to be anti-Israel,” she continued. “If someone thinks withdrawals will help, they are wrong. The biggest diplomatic attacks against the State of Israel were all done because of Israel’s operations in Gaza, from which we withdrew until the last centimeter. Are we also occupiers in the Negev? Israel’s boycotts seek to erase the State of Israel, not divide it.”
Minister Ofir Akunis took the podium next, aiming his attack at Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Galon. “The most contemptible acts in human history started with boycotts against the Jews,” he said.
Galon responded with, “You think you can stand there and preach us and we will remain quiet? Come to 2015 already.”
“We cannot bear this victimization policy of yours, Ministers Shaked and Akunis,” Galon said. “Calm down, because those who work in the service of this boycott are members of the Netanyahu government. They are those who impose separation on buses and release videos of Arabs ‘going in droves’ (to the polls) and claims Arabs are playing games. You will have to decide: Either settlements or international legitimacy.”
Meretz MK Michal Rozin, meanwhile, called on the Israeli government to take responsibility for Israel’s part in the worsening of the international boycott.
“The way to deal with the increasing boycotting against Israel is not hasbara (diplomatic relations), but in putting an end to the occupation,” she said. “The government must internalize that the boycott is a wakeup call and not anti-Semitic propaganda against the state.”
“As long as we continue to ‘manage the conflict’ and avoid diplomatic negotiations, the world will continue taking measures against us,” she added.
Meanwhile, former finance minister Yair Lapid told Ynet on Wednesday morning that the European initiative to mark settlement products could lead to a boycott of all products from Israel and dramatically hurt the Israeli economy.
Lapid at the Ynet studio (Photo: Avi Hai, Nitzan Dror)
“The European consumer in Belgium or London is told ‘you can’t buy products because they’re from the settlements.’ Does he know where the settlements are? No, he knows where Israel is. So he is now no longer buying Israeli products and telling the supermarket owner, ‘don’t bring products from Israel because I’m not going to check now if it is from Ma’ale Adumim or Ra’anana.’ How can he tell the difference? It could de-facto create a boycott on Israel in all kinds of places. This is damaging to more than 30 percent of Israeli exports,” he said.
He warned that even the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, “who is a friend of Israel and truly hates Hamas and radical Islam,” according to Lapid, “has already announced they are planning a move of marking products.”
Lapid, whose party Yesh Atid is in the opposition, criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the prime minister “does not give us the tools to win. He just dismantled the Foreign Ministry and divided it between six ministers.”