The campaign to boycott Israel is committing a “crime worse than apartheid” UK Justice Secretary Michael Gove said as he was honoured for his support of the country and Anglo-Jewry in New York.
The justice secretary was recognised at Algemeiner’s Jewish 100 Gala on Wednesday, alongside philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, at a dinner also attended by Rupert Murdoch.
He said: “Across the world, the new anti-Semites rally behind the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign. And the people behind it have the temerity to compare Israel with apartheid South Africa, even though Israel is a country which gives all its citizens — whatever their background, whatever their ethnicity — a vote and a say. A country with Arab politicians in the Knesset and an Arab lawyer on the Supreme Court.
“But worse than that – worse than libelling the state of Israel – the BDS campaign, by calling for the deliberate boycott of goods manufactured by Jewish people, by calling for the shunning of the Jewish state, and the rejection of Jewish commerce and Jewish thought, actually commits a crime worse than apartheid.
“It re-introduces into our world and into our society a prejudice against the Jews collectively that should have vanished from the earth generations ago.”
As Breitbart London has reported, the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement began in 2005 and calls for the economic, cultural, and academic boycott of Israel. However, it is much older than 2005.
The movement goes back to the beginning of the State of Israel, when Arab countries boycotted trade with Israel. The modern BDS movement first came about in 2001, when participants at the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Durban began labelling Israel as an “apartheid state.”
One of the reactions to South African apartheid was a call for divestment and political isolation of South Africa. Naturally, after the label was placed onto Israel, divestment became the latest buzzword for Palestinian activists.
The BDS movement remains strong across Europe and in the UK in particular. Mr Gove took up the argument against the movement earlier this month and, as Breitbart Jerusalem reported, he said the “campaign indulges prejudice rather than fighting it.”
Speaking at a conference on anti-Semitism in Berlin, Mr Gove, who is is a self-described “proud Zionist”, suggested that the BDS argument feeds anti-Semitism.
“[BDS] calls for the shunning of Jewish academics, the boycott of Jewish goods, the de-legitimization of Jewish commerce,” he said at the third Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism. “We have seen these all before. And we know where it takes us.”
Mr Gove’s honour came as part of the annual Jewish 100 list that features figures deemed to have played a key role in positively influencing communal life in the world. Also featured on the list was Chief Rabbi Mirvis and his predecessor Lord Sacks, as well as the late Lord weidenfeld, and the British-born founder of From The Depths Jonny Daniels.
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