A demonstrator wears a shirt reading 'Boycott Israel' [File].
(photo credit: AFP/ MOHD RASFAN)
The National Union of Students in the UK (NUS) decision to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel is classic anti-Semitism, British MPs and members of the European Parliament from the Conservative Party and UK Independence Party wrote to British Education Minister Nicky Morgan Thursday.
“As members of Parliament, we want to express our support for the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
The decision of the NUS does not represent at all the views of the British students specifically and the British people in general,” they wrote.
The students “hide their irrational and prejudice [sic.] views against the only state of the Jewish people and call it a ‘legitimate criticism against Israel’s actions.’ Well, that is most certainly not the case here,” the MPs wrote. “While there is a legitimate debate about the settlements, both in Israel and worldwide, one must not confuse it with a campaign aiming to undermine the very legitimacy of the Israeli state to exist.”
BDS does not contribute to efforts to make peace, they posited, rather, it will fuel anti-Semitism.
The lawmakers mentioned the 1917 Balfour Declaration, former British prime minister Winston Churchill’s support and the current government’s efforts against anti-Semitism to show that “Great Britain has been a close ally and a friend of Israel for many years.”
“We fully oppose the decision of the NUS and call them to remove it. To our friends in Israel we want to say atem lo levad – you are not alone,” the letter concluded.
MEP Stephen Woolfe (UKIP) said: “It really worries me. They use free speech in order to spread hate speech.”
The letter is an initiative by the Israel Europe Freedom Center, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to improving Israel’s relations with Europe, whose deputy director-general Matan Asher said “we didn’t want to act inside Israel’s borders, we wanted to go directly to Great Britain.... In good diplomatic work, you work in the field.”
Asher said the IEFC plans to take additional steps against BDS in Europe and continue showing the true face of Israel to Europeans.