With the continuing spread of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) movement, and Antisemitism on a global rise, a unique initiative is underway at the United Nations this week focused on fighting back. Based on the understanding that BDS is in fact the latest incarnation of traditional Antisemitims, the first “Ambassadors Against BDS” conference is bringing together almost 2,000 young student leaders, diplomats, academics and leading legal and communications professionals all focused on ending this latest attempt to boycott and sanction the Jewish people.
Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN, initiated the conference in partnership with the World Jewish Congress, Keren HaYesod, the American Center for Law and Justice, the Maccabee Task Force the Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Organization of America, Israel Bonds, StandWithUs, B'nai B'rith International, Hillel, CAMERA and other organizations.
“BDS is the modern incarnation of Antisemitism,” said Ambassador Danon ahead of the conference. “Holding this anti-BDS summit in the UN 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.
Among those who will address the participants in the General Assembly are Justice Eliyakim Rubenstein, Vice President of the Israeli Supreme Court, Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, and Jay Sekulow, Chief Legal Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice.
Grammy nominated Reggae Artist superstar Matisyahu will also hold a special performance in the General Assembly Hall. Matisyahu became a hero to the anti-BDS movement when his scheduled performance in Spain was boycotted by a local group citing his support for Israel and his participation in performing at Jewish and Israeli organizational events. Matisyahu refused to back down and he was invited back to perform before 40,000 fans in Spain.
Throughout the last 3,000 years and all around the globe, the Jewish people have been targeted by religious zealots, corrupt leaders and fear incited mobs. Though many hoped that these horrible incidents were a thing of the past, this latest version of Antisemitism proves that this age-old bigotry didn't disappear, rather it just transformed into anti-Zionism and today the calls for the destruction of State of Israel.
The message of BDS and traditional Antisemitism is the same – the Jews are to blame for everything. Like the Antisemities of old, the modern Antisemites rationalize their hatred by the "unforgivable sins" of the Jews – and now their hatred is pointed towards Israel, because the Jewish state is a clear and easy mark.
This hatred is not pointed solely at Israel. In 2014, in the United Kingdom alone, there were over 1,100 Antisemitic attacks – these only the ones that were reported with experts estimating that the actually number may be significantly higher. Many of the attacks can be directly linked to inflammatory propaganda and an ongoing attempt to delegitimize the Jewish state on campuses, in courts and in the international institutions like the UN.
“BDS is continuing to spread and seeks to utilize international institutions to implement its ideology of hate,” said Ambassador Danon. “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,” he said.
Throughout the conference participants will receive a specialized tool kit that will include practical suggestions and important contact information for their battle against BDS and to assist with their pro-Israel activities.Organizers of the conference understand that the time to act is now. Only by Delegitimizing the delegitimizes will Israel’s supporters succeed in bringing the fight to BDS's doorstep.