While intellectuals and terrorists appear to have nothing in common, supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement are no different from those who attack Israelis with violence, a prominent Israeli leader has said. Speaking at the Jerusalem Post’s annual gathering in New York, Israel’s minister of public security, strategic affairs and public diplomacy Gilad Erdan (Likud) called them “two sides of the same coin”.
According to Algemeiner, Erdan made his remarks Sunday. While their tools are different, he argued, BDS activists and terrorists “are united in their goals, their language of hate and their victims.”
He enjoined his audience to imagine two people.
“On the one side,” Erdan said, “picture a sophisticated university professor, who believes that Israel is the root of all evil. On the other, a young man from Hebron, taught to hate from a young age, and motivated by Islamic extremism.” Beyond their shared animosity towards the Jewish state, they appear to be quite different.
“The professor acts out his hostility towards Israel through leading BDS campaigns: Organizing boycotts of Israeli academics. Using intimidation to prevent Israeli voices from being heard. And spreading bile and lies about Israel in his classroom,” continued Erdan.
Meanwhile, “The young man’s hatred is expressed through taking a knife or gun, and going out to murder Israelis.”
“While he dare not admit it, the BDS leader has more in common with the terrorist than with genuine human rights activists,” he went on.
“Their shared goal is simple and explicit: The destruction of the state of Israel.”
The actions of each “not only complement, but fuel each other”, Erdan explained. The surge in Palestinian terror since September fed and was bolstered by the increased efforts of BDS activists during the same period on university campuses and social media outlets worldwide. He noted, too, the recent displays of virulent anti-Semitic, anti-Israel sentiment expressed by the British Labour party, saying words “can kill.”
In contrast to those who promote BDS, Israel is genuinely “concerned about human rights, both for Israelis and Palestinians. We want dialogue. We want coexistence. We want to build bridges.” Israel seeks real justice and relief for the oppressed, as directed in Isaiah.
“The tragedy of BDS is that it does exactly the opposite. Just like terrorism, it does nothing for the Palestinians. It is not pro-Palestinian; it is anti-Israel… Friends, BDS and terror are two sides of the same coin.”
Erdan also weighed in on the recent upheaval in the Israeli government, which saw former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) resign from government when replaced by Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman. The controversial appointment has been criticized both because of Lieberman’s right-wing views and his inexperience in the military. The latter, however, is not necessarily a disadvantage, says Erdan.
“I believe that it is good that every once in awhile, we have a Defense Minister who does not come from the military establishment. Someone from the outside can bring fresh thinking and a fresh perspective to the [Israel Defence Force].” He added that after knowing Lieberman personally for over 20 years, he believes the man will make an excellent defense minister.