NEW YORK — Addressing the phenomenon of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting the Jewish state, Dani Dayan, Israel’s Consul General in New York, declared that the “real war” is the intimidation, disruption and attempted silencing of pro-Israel voices on U.S. college campuses.
“There we have a real war,” Dayan said, referring to attempts to shut down freedom of expression for Israel defenders on American campuses. “And we have to be much more aggressive, much more assertive. … But it is not only an Israeli problem, what is happening on many campuses across America. I think it is first and foremost an American problem.”
Dayan was speaking to this reporter during an onstage interview at the JBiz Expo, an annual business networking and pro-Israel event hosted by the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce.
Last month, Dayan himself was repeatedly heckled and disrupted during a speech at the City College of New York. There, students from the CCNY chapter of the Students for Justice in Palestine and other anti-Israel groups protested and temporarily disrupted the event.
At the Jbiz Expo interview, Dayan vowed to return to CCNY. “We should not give any ground to our enemies,” he stated. “On the contrary, I will make a point of coming to the same place again next year and the next semester. And we must persevere.”
Regarding the anti-Israel actions on U.S. campuses, Dayan surmised, “In some senses, I think we are in the same boat, as we say sometimes in Israel, with other movements that their freedom of speech is obstructed on many campuses.”
He continued: “It happens on the West Coast. It happens on the East Coast. I think as a foreign representative I have to be very careful but I think it is a problem that American society has to deal with not only in respect to Israel.”
“In some senses, it is the same phenomenon that we see on campuses by extreme elements that are also anti-Israeli but not only anti-Israeli. In some cases they are even anti-American. And we as Israel, we have to be relentless. We cannot give up.”
BDS is ‘Big Failure’
Turning to the larger BDS campaign to boycott Israel’s economic and cultural institutions, Dayan used the occasion to declare the BDS movement a “big failure.”
“Let’s not forget that,” he stated. “You know, I saw a survey of the market value of the companies targeted by BDS and all of them – for sure the average, maybe there was one that for common business reasons didn’t – but on the average they made twice the market performance. So the economic BDS is a total failure. And it is sufficient to see the shape of Israel’s economy these days.”
Dayan pointed to the trend of major U.S. and international companies purchasing Israeli high-tech firms as well as top tech companies maintaining satellite headquarters in Israel.
In March, Intel purchased the Israeli driverless vehicles company Mobileye for $15.3 billion.
“We think of ourselves as an Israeli company as much as a US company,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said at a Jerusalem press conference alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the Mobileye acquisition.
“So Israel’s economy is doing extremely well,” added Dayan. “The shekel, which I remember having a 400% annual rate of inflation, today is the strongest currency in the world. If that’s not a miracle I don’t know what a miracle is.”
Dayan also declared the cultural BDS movement “a total failure” and he poked fun at anti-Israel advocate Roger Waters, who has led an effort to persuade performers to boycott the Jewish state.
“I can’t keep track of the rock and pop and hip-hop bands that come to Israel,” he said. “From Lady Gaga to Madonna. And yesterday I think was one of the oldies, Rod Stewart, performing in Tel Aviv. So there is this nudnik Roger Waters from Pink Floyd. We can’t survive without him?”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.