Netanyahu: BDS Advocates 'Should Be Treated as We Treat Any Anti-Semite or Bigot'
"Most people in the BDS movement don't seek a solution of two states for two peoples. On the contrary, they openly admit that they seek the dissolution of the only state for the Jewish people! They're not seeking peace. They're not seeking reconciliation. But some of their gullible fellow travelers actually do believe that BDS advances peace. Well, the opposite is true. BDS sets back peace because it hardens Palestinian positions and it makes mutual compromise less likely," Netanyahu said.
"…BDS is morally wrong. It turns morality on its head. This is the main point. And I can tell you, it's not that Israel, like all states, is not beyond criticism. We have a boisterous democracy, where everyone has an opinion. And believe me, no one in Israel is shy about expressing it, about anything. In Israel, self-criticism is on steroids!"
The BDS movement, he said, is not about legitimate criticism but making Israel illegitimate, presenting "a distorted and implicit picture of Israel to the naive and to the ignorant."
"BDS is nothing but a farce. Here's why. Listen. In dozens of countries, academics are imprisoned for their beliefs. So the universities of which country does BDS want to sanction and boycott? Israel, the one country in the Middle East where professors can say, write and teach what they want. Throughout the Middle East, Christians are fleeing for their lives. So which country does BDS want churches to divest from? You got it, Israel, the one country in the Middle East that protects Christians and protects the right of worship for everyone. Throughout the Middle East, journalists are jailed, gays are hanged and women are denied their most basic rights. So which country does BDS want to sanction? Take a guess. Israel, the only country in the region with a free press, a progressive gay rights record, and where women have presided over each of the three branches of government," the prime minister said.
"Now, when you hear this -- and anybody can verify this -- so you have to wonder, how could anyone fall for the B.S. in BDS?"
Netanyahu tied the movement to the history of blood libel, when "people believed the most outrageously absurd things about the Jews, that we were using the blood of children to bake matzohs, we're spreading the plague throughout Europe, that we were plotting to take over the world."
"Yes, but you can say, how can educated people, how could educated people today believe the nonsense spewed by BDS about Israel? Well, that shouldn't surprise you, either. Some of history's most influential thinkers and writers -- Voltaire, Dostoevsky, T.S. Eliot, and many, many others -- spread the most preposterous lies about the Jewish people," he said. "It's hard to shed prejudices that have been ingrained in consciousness over millennia. And from antiquity to the Middle Ages to modern times, Jews were boycotted, discriminated against and singled out. Today, the singling out of the Jewish people has turned into the singling out of the Jewish state."
"So you see, attempts to boycott, divest and sanction Israel, the most threatened democracy on Earth, are simply the latest chapters in the long and dark history of anti-Semitism. Those who wear the BDS label should be treated exactly as we treat any anti-Semite or bigot. They should be exposed and condemned! The boycotters should be boycotted! Everyone should know what the letters BDS really stand for -- bigotry, dishonesty and shame!"
Netanyahu gave a shout out to SodaStream spokes-star Scarlett Johansson, who quit her role as an Oxfam ambassador over the boycott controversy.
"Scarlett, I have one thing to say to you. Frankly, my dear, I do give a damn! And I know all of you give a damn, as do decent people everywhere who reject hypocrisy and lies and cherish integrity and truth," he said.
BDS activists vowed last month to take aim at Congress after Reps. Pete Roskam (R-Ill.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) introduced a bill to block some federal funds from educational institutions that boycott Israeli academic institutions or scholars.
"It is ludicrous for critics to go after our democratic friend and ally Israel when they should be focusing on the evils perpetrated by repressive, authoritarian regimes like Iran and North Korea,” Roskam, co-chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus, said at the bill's introduction. “…Congress has a responsibility to fight back against these hateful campaigns, which contradict academic freedom and are designed to delegitimize the Jewish State of Israel."
"The boycott of U.S.-Israeli academic exchanges proposed by the American Studies Association and Association of Asian American Studies would lead to negative effects on educational and research institutions in both nations," said Lipinski, a former professor.
The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, which called the American Studies Association 2-1 vote a "watershed victory" for BDS campaigns, called the bill "Orwellian."
"Make no mistake: the Israel lobby is so fearful of the BDS movement that it is trying to mobilize its allies in Congress to stop it," said advocacy director Josh Ruebner.