Gilad Erdan speaks at JPost Diplomatic Conference.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Recent revelations of anti-Semitism among British Labor MPs and officials show the extent to which radical Islam has made inroads in Europe, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said Monday.
“I don’t want to say this was expected, because it’s shocking how immoral these stances are,” Erdan said. “But it’s a clear example of radical Islam’s penetration in Europe, and France and the UK are among the clearest examples of it.”
Erdan came in second place in the last Likud primaries after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is thought of in the Likud as an eventual successor to Netanyahu as party head.
Erdan, who will speak at The Jerusalem Post Conference in New York on May 22, also said: “Some Brits have a history against us,” and pointed to cases in which the British mandate displayed “unbalanced, pro-Arab behavior, even when Arabs murdered Jews.”
However, the minister, who has been tasked with formulating the government’s strategy to fight anti-Israel boycotts, said he does not think anti-Semitism has become mainstream in the UK.
“I’ve met with British ministers and the government there passed a law prohibiting boycotts by municipalities,” Erdan said.
“Maybe now, under [UK Labour chairman Jeremy] Corbyn, these voices are allowing themselves to be heard,” he posited.
While all anti-Semitism is deplorable, the fact that it’s opposed strongly and publicly is positive, he added.
“It’s good that there’s a counter-discourse that connects being anti-Israel to anti-Semitism because that is a central claim of ours against [the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement], that they’re not human rights activists,” he stated.
Concern for human rights is the “big lie” of BDS, Erdan explained.
“They don’t care about human rights anywhere else in the world, not Iran or Syria or other places where terrible things happen, and they don’t care about the conflict or peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
That’s their disguise,” he said.
Erdan called the BDS movement “pure anti-Semitism, based on hating Jews and a refusal to recognize the Jews’ right to exist, let alone have a state.
“It’s good that this discourse is coming up and connecting these two concepts” – anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism – “maybe more people will understand these people’s criticism of Israel is not substantive and is coming from hatred and racism,” he said.
Still, Erdan was careful to clarify that criticism of the government’s policies is not anti-Semitism, and said he welcomes critics who are willing to engage with the Jewish state to join his fight against the boycott movement.