Some 350 participants from 30 countries convened in Jerusalem this week to participate in a conference that aims to confront the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign, the resurgence of anti-Semitism around the world, and the delegitimization of Israel.
The conference was held under the auspices of the Global Coalition for Israel (GC4I), which was established in 2010 as part of the campaign against the anti-Israel activism. The GC4I bands together into a network of about 150 presidents, chairpersons and CEOs of the most significant pro-Israel organizations around the world, Jewish and non-Jewish.
Minister of Strategic Affairs and Homeland Security Gilad Erdan, whose portfolio includes the fight against BDS, and US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elon Carr were present at the conference.
President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday addressed the conference and stated that “BDS does not seek peace, or even to help our Palestinian neighbors. It seeks to delegitimize Israel’s very existence.”
BDS campaigns targeting Israeli businesses in Judea and Samaria often harm the Arab employees working at these factories
Rivlin called to “use all the tools at our disposal to defeat BDS – in the courtroom, in the board room, in civil society, in social media, in academia and in the halls of power. We must expose the modern blood libels spread by BDS and put a price on its hate and discrimination.”
“The State of Israel has no problem with legitimate criticism – criticism that flows from a true concern for Israel’s security and welfare… Honest criticism? Friendly criticism? Yes! Delegitimize Israel? No!” he declared.
The president also stressed that “today, especially, we must stand together against the growing threat of anti-Semitism, whether from the left, the right or radical Islam.”
He charged that “too often, the left tries to hide its anti-Semitism in the disguise of anti-Zionism. They try to present their campaign to boycott Israel as ‘progressive.’ There is nothing progressive about hate. There is nothing progressive about anti-Semitism. At the same time, we must show zero tolerance for anti-Semitism on the right, even when it comes from those who claim to admire Israel.”
The president concluded his remarks by saying, “I am confident that we can defeat those who seek to undermine our Jewish and democratic homeland, and build a thriving future for Israel and the Jewish people.”