Israel hosts first anti-BDS conference at the United Nations

The “Building Bridges, Not Boycotts” conference held at United Nations Tuesday; Danon: BDS is the modern incarnation of anti-Semitism.

 

The Israel United Nations Mission and World Jewish Congress hosted the “Building Bridges, Not Boycotts” conference at the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, the event attended by world representatives and over 2,000 participants, including students, diplomats, dignitaries and members of pro-Israel lobbying groups and organizations.

The conference is the first of its kind as Israel’s Foreign Ministry invests in programs and diplomatic missions to combat the movement. The Ministry reportedly spent over $33 million in 2015 in program development and diplomacy efforts.

The conference is a counter-effort to the growing BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), which was created in 2001 during the Durban Strategy. The movement was created as a “global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and is coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), established in 2007. BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.”

The Movement targets international social and political bodies, as well as in the areas of business, academia and private sectors to place sanctions and boycotts, as well as divestment on the State of Israel with the goal of ending what the movement claims to be Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon was the head speaker at the conference, addressing the BDS movement as anti-Semitic, but highlighting Israel’s resilience and global efforts among pro-Israel and Jewish communities internationally to combat the movement. Danon stated on Tuesday that “BDS is the modern incarnation of anti-Semitism. Holding this anti-BDS summit in the U.N. General Assembly will bring together an international coalition against the boycott movement, and will send a clear message to all of our adversaries- Israel will not relent and will continue to reveal the lies propagated by the BDS movement,” stating that “unity is the most effective weapon against BDS.”

Addressing the movements “ideology of hate”, he stated “BDS is continuing to spread and seeks to utilize international institutions to implement its ideology of hate. This summit will create practical tools to battle BDS by training students to serve as ‘ambassadors’ against boycotts. They will return to their campuses fully equipped and ready to take on the lies of the BDS movement.”