Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Israel Sponsors Conference to Counter Pro-Palestinian Effort on US Campuses

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Israel Sponsors Conference to Counter Pro-Palestinian Effort on US Campuses

Article excerpt

UNITED NATIONS - Over 1,500 students filled the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday for a conference sponsored by the Israeli mission on how best to combat a movement on many U.S. campuses calling for a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians. Taking place in the same hall where 40 years ago 72 nations voted to equate Zionism with racism, Israel's Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon called the conference an "historic event. Separately, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour dismissed the conference as "no big deal."

The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) seeks to ostracize Israel by lobbying corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with the Jewish state. Supporters say the boycott is aimed at furthering Palestinian independence, and they have modeled their efforts on an earlier campaign against Apartheid South Africa.

- the associated press

Critics say the campaign is aimed at delegitimizing Israel itself.

"BDS is not about helping the Palestinians or bringing peace. Their only goal is to bring an end to the Jewish state. This is the reality and we won't be afraid to say it out loud, everywhere. BDS is the true face of modern anti-Semitism, Danon said in his opening remarks.

Danon cited a recent resolution passed by the Human Rights Council that calls on the U.N. human rights chief to set up a database of businesses operating in settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights as evidence that BDS movement had spread beyond college campuses.

"With this disgraceful resolution the U.N. crossed a red line. Can you imagine that seventy years after the holocaust the U.N. is creating lists to encourage the boycott of Jewish companies? This is exactly the kind of hatred that the U.N. was founded to eradicate, Danon said.

The conference entitled "Build Bridges Not Boycotts, united members of Jewish organizations, business people and academics to discuss strategies aimed at countering the narratives of the BDS movement. …

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