Israeli minister: Promoters of the Israel boycott movement are anti-Semitic

Gilad Erdan, left, Elan Carr and Mencahem Magolin presenting a report on BDS in Brussels, Belgium on Sept. 25, 2019. Photo: Yonni Rykner

Cnaan Liphshiz

BRUSSELS (JTA) – Israel’s public security minister presented a report at a conference here on Wednesday that includes 80 examples of what he called anti-Semitism by key European promoters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

In one example from April, Jenny Tonge, a lawmaker in the upper chamber of the British parliament, asked on Facebook whether the wounding of 27 Palestinians, including a baby, in clashes with Israeli troops was “all to celebrate the Passover?”

Blood libels involving the trope that Jews use blood to bake matzah for Passover have for centuries been a motif of anti-Semitism in Europe.

In another, Robert-Willem van Norren, a promoter of BDS in the Netherlands, is seen holding up a caricature of the Israel flag with a cockroach instead of the Star of David.

The Israeli minister Gilad Erdan sat alongside Elan Carr, the U.S. envoy against anti-Semitism, and Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association in Brussels, while presenting the report, titled “Behind the Mask.” Each speaker had a cracked mask next to him, emblazoned with terms such as “freedom” and “solidarity.”

“BDS leaders who use anti-Semitic language and images that also prove their principles, of boycotting the Jew among the nations, Israel, are anti-Semitic,” Erdan said.

Erdan also protested the hosting in July of a conference of BDS promoters with alleged links to the PFLP terrorist organization. Erdan said the European Union offers funding to groups involved in promoting anti-Semitism.

Promoting BDS is illegal in France and Spain. Earlier this year, the German Bundestag passed a motion defining the movement as anti-Semitic.

Elan Carr, the U.S. envoy against anti-Semitism, said that BDS is “classical old anti-Semitism, repackaged and rebranded, cloaked poorly as anti-Israel rhetoric.”

Margolin said that BDS “is responsible” for some anti-Semitic attacks in Europe.