At a conference on anti-Semitism in Britain Tuesday, British Secretary of Justice Michael Gove forcefully spoke against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“We have made clear that local authorities and public bodies cannot adopt BDS policies aimed at Israel; they cannot use public resources to discriminate against Jewish people, Jewish goods and a Jewish state,” Gove said in Berlin at the third Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism, adding that the “campaign indulges prejudice rather than fighting it.”
Alluding to the Nazi practices and laws instituted in the 1930s in Germany and Austria, Gove said, “We have seen these all before. And we know where it takes us.”
Gove made clear that the British government is working to stop the BDS movement by blocking public institutions in the UK from adopting its precepts and practices.
The justice minister also brought to the conference a message from British Prime Minister David Cameron to the same effect. His speech followed an earlier one on Monday given by German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying that the German government intends to confront anti-Semitism no matter the source with the combined force of both government and civil society. (JPost)
Merkel also supported Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, who voiced fears of a growing anti-Semitism among the one million new refugees seeking asylum in Germany.
“It is perfectly legitimate for someone to share his concern,” Merkel said, acknowledging that many refugees “have grown up with certain stereotypes.”
Britain and Germany are not the only places taking a stand against BDS. One month after passing a resolution supporting the boycott movement, the northern Spanish city of Aviles has distanced itself from that position denouncing it as being discriminatory.
This comes following the initiation of a law suit against the city by the pro-Israel ACOM group. ACOM said that the city has agreed to advertise its negative attitude toward BDS in the form of a statement saying that “the boycott threatens people’s right not to be discriminated against.”
Meanwhile, in Venezuela, BDS opposition members called for a strengthening of ties with Israel and a break with Iranian influences. At a summit of the Israel Allies Foundation’s Second Annual Latin America Summit on Israel, parliamentarians from 13 Latin American and Caribbean countries signed a resolution declaring their support for Israel and calling for Latin American countries to fight against the boycott.
Ironically, while sentiment around the world is turning against the boycott movement, in Israel itself, Professor Uri Ram of Ben Gurion University and the newly elected president of the Israeli Sociological Society has called for a boycott of Ariel University, which is located over the so-called “Green Line” that was unofficially drawn in 1949 armistice agreement with Jordan and the other nations that invaded modern Israel on May 15, 1948, the day after its first birthday.
Minister of Education Naftali Bennett called the proposal absurd.
“A boycott is not education; it is the opposite of education. A boycott is not pluralism, it is the opposite of pluralism, and will be handled accordingly,” he responded.