TEL AVIV – Some supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel are not even aware that their campaign is anti-Semitic and has its roots in Nazism, famed French intellectual and author Bernard-Henri Lévy told CNN Sunday.
“I want to say to the sincere followers of this BDS campaign, I want to tell them from the bottom of my heart, because I’m not sure they know it, this is an anti-Semitic campaign,” Lévy said on Fareed Zakaria’s “GPS” program. “This BDS campaign takes its roots a long time ago, 60 years ago, in the fringes of the dying Nazism.”
“The first time when boycott was recommended against Israel … was by Nazis escaping Germany, taking shelter in Iraq or in Syria and building this campaign of BDS,” Lévy said.
“BDS exists all over the world but has so much strength also on the West Coast of America,” he continued. “This tide of anti-Semitism, alas, is not reserved to my country [France], it is much more worldwide.”
Lévy mentioned the debate currently taking place in France about whether Jews should leave the country because of the rise in anti-Semitism. He praises Jews as having played an integral role in the cultivation of French political and cultural life. He said, “Those who have to leave [France] are the anti-Semites who want nothing except to debuild [sic] and destroy this country. They will leave before I leave, for sure.”
“The Jews in the world are strong; strong in values, strong because of their memory, strong because [of] their habit of study. This gives an incredible strength which is stronger than the anti-Semites,” he said.
Lévy, whose most recent book is The Genius of Judaism, said last month that “Anti-Zionism is the new dressing for the old passion of antisemitism. … If you are anti-Zionist, that means you wish for a huge disaster for the Jewish people.”