Jerusalem, June 20th, 2019 – More than 350 senior pro-Israel leaders from around the world have met in Jerusalem to discuss critical issues facing the State of Israel and the Jewish community worldwide at a two day conference hosted by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs. The main focus of the conference has been the international campaign to delegitimise the State of Israel and the calls to boycott, divest and impose sanctions on Israeli goods, the so called BDS movement.
Whereas the UN sponsored NGO-conference against racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001 is widely believed to have been the launching pad for the BDS movement “the tide is now turning as the movement is pushed back on many fronts”, Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan said in his opening speech.
He went on to express his gratitude to the German parliament for its recent resolution, which calls out the BDS movement as anti-Semitic. The German parliament is backed up by world leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May who have all publicly condemned the BDS movement.
Many speakers noted that today the BDS movement has become a safe place for modern anti-Semites who are trying to whitewash their Jew hatred as criticism of the State of Israel.
“Anyone can criticise the policies of the government of Israel but when they openly seek the destruction of the Jewish state or try to compare the Israeli government to that to the Nazi regime, it is clearly anti-Semitic”, Erdan said. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism gives clear guidelines as to what constitutes legitimate criticism of the policies of the government of Israel on the one hand and what, on the other hand, is crossing the red line to become anti-Semitism.
European Coalition of Israel, together with Christians United for Israel (CUFI) and Eagles Wings from the USA had been invited to the conference to represent worldwide Christian support for the State of Israel. In a statement on Wednesday ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell said that “unity is of essence when fighting back against anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiments in our time. This unity should include Christians and Jews of all strands working together as one, as well as people of other faiths and of no faith. In this battle Christian organisations can play a key role as many of the instigators of the modern BDS movement represented Christian NGOs and Church bodies.”
Today there are international campaigns orchestrated in order to erode Christian support for Israel in the Western world. Surveys reveal that the support for Israel among Jewish youth on college campuses in Northern America has never been weaker as the BDS movement seeks to involve Jewish youth in leadership positions. Similar trends can be seen on the Christian side. Still, Christian support for the State of Israel is growing at a rapid pace in the global south, representing the fastest growing segment of the church worldwide.
“If Christians and Jews are to preserve a solid support base for the State of Israel we need to win back our college campuses”, Sandell said.
“But instead of only accusing the BDS activists of anti-Semitism we should engage with them and help educate them”, he said. Many young activists today are simply misled as they have been influenced by the well-funded propaganda machine of the BDS movement, according to a recent study, worth $100 million of funding from private donors and governments during the period 2014-2017.
“Although we are winning on many fronts, the work is anything but over,” warned Minister Gilad Erdan. “But if we work together as one, we can push back these forces of hatred.”
“We are one”, was the theme of the conference, which featured numerous prominent speakers, among them, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Isaac Herzog and the US Special Envoy in the combat against anti-Semitism Elan Carr.