Photo Credit:
UN Ambassador Danny Danon

In an interview Monday with The Jewish Press, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon outlined a plan of action aimed at leveling the playing field against the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement.

In less than two weeks, Jews around the world will start getting some much needed back-up in the battle against BDS, as Danny Danon, Israel’s envoy to the UN, rolls out a plan of action designed to unite, organize, and train those on the front lines.

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“Young people are being effected by the propaganda,” said Danon, “if we don’t counter it, it will become their truth and reality. We have to stand, fight back, and show the world the real face of Israel”.

The initiative’s inaugural event, entitled “Ambassadors Against BDS”, will take place on May 31st when Israel’s Mission to the UN will host 1500 students, organizations, and agencies from around the world at a summit aimed at cultivating a cadre of able young ambassadors who will carry the message back to their campuses, armed with practical advice and the resources to take on the toxic atmosphere created by BDS.

“The goal of the event is to empower students from around the world – not just from the US – by giving them the tools they need to fight back. By doing it at the United Nations, in the General Assembly, we send a clear message that we will not be silent. We are a strong nation and we will overcome this wave of incitement against the State of Israel,” explained Danon, “We can win, but in order to win, we – the State of Israel and world Jewish communities – have to work together in order to be strong and effective.”

Although the initiative is being spearheaded by Israel’s Mission to the UN, other Israeli government Ministries are also behind the trailblazing effort to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allocated record funding last summer. “The Israeli government is very aware of the threat posed by BDS”, said Danon, “the Prime Minister takes it very seriously”.

Representatives from several Ministries will be arriving from Israel to take part in the May 31st event. The day will open with a plenary session in the UN General Assembly Hall and be followed by a series of professional panels, where experts from fields such as law and public diplomacy will work with students to hammer out guidelines and provide them with “Ambassadors Against BDS” kits to help implement a new cohesive plan of action.

BDS has been operating for almost 11 years. Its attempts to delegitimize Israel by pressuring businesses, intimidating academics, bullying artists, and the spreading of lies and messages of hate against Jews and Israel on college campuses, have seen more success than previous boycott attempts due to their centralized organization. “I see the work being done by the other side, the way they are organized on college campuses. I know that we can, and we must, be united as well. It’s crucial to understand that this needs to be a joint effort in order to be effective”.

Danon knows there are some people in Israel and here in the United States who think it’s best to ignore BDS, but he’s not one of them. “We cannot and should not ignore the BDS movement, it will not go away. We cannot sit idly by and watch an organized group bashing Israel, in the process of actively trying to delegitimize the State of Israel. Our economy is strong, but we can’t ignore the chilling effect of companies that think twice before investing in Israeli businesses. I don’t think we should wait until the moment when we see the numbers going down, we need to tackle it in advance”.

Although “Ambassadors Against BDS” kits will be available online after the summit, Danon is urging all college students that face anti-Semitism on campus to attend the summit on May 31st. “Registration is free and still open. I encourage all students who can, to participate, to make the effort, to come for one day to the UN. Together, we can proceed with structure, and move forward”.
To register for Ambassadors Against BDS click here.
 

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Stephanie is a freelance journalist and U.N. Correspondent. She contributes regularly to the Jerusalem Post and the Jewish Press, and is a monthly columnist at JPost Style Magazine. Stephanie is mom to Daniel, Adam, Dean and Anna and divides her time between New York and Tel Aviv.
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