Daily Israel Report

Zionist Anti BDS Conference with MK Edelstein to be Held in NY

Pro-Israel supporters are taking action to counter the BDS campaign with a special conference in New York. Min. Yuli Edelstein will speak.
By Ben Bresky & Jade Kestenberg
First Publish: 9/14/2011, 5:40 AM

Yaakov Hagoel
Yaakov Hagoel
World Zionist Organization

Pro-Israel supporters are taking action to counter the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions campaign with a special conference in New York.

MK Yuli Edelstein, the Minister for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, will be the keynote speaker at the Countering Anti-Semitism & Delegitimization of Israel conference on Sep. 25th. Other speakers will include Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

The conference is being organized by the World Zionist Organization (WZO) together with the American Zionist Movement (AZM). Yaakov Hagoel, the head of the WZO's Department for Activities in Israel and Countering Anti-Semitism spoke to Arutz Sheva about the event. 

"It is important to gather representatives from the United States who are facing false accusations concerning Israel's right to exist," Hagoel states. "There is an escalation of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel events on college campuses, in the media and on the streets.” 

Hagoel is a long time activist who previously formerly as Executive Director of World Betar, the youth movement originally led in the 1920's by the Zionist ideologue Zev Jabotinsky.

The conference will take place less than a week after the upcoming Palestinian Authority's bid for statehood at the United Nations. Hagoel says the timing is not a coincidence and that pro-Israel supporters need to "acquire legitimate arguments that empower both Jewish and non-Jewish activists, as well as influential people around the world."

While many companies are seeking to invest in Israel's growing high tech economy, anti-Israel activists are pushing for what they call the BDS campaign -- Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Hagoel says the anti-Israel arguments simply don't hold up. "The BDS campaign holds Israel responsible for the lack of human rights for the Arab community," Hagoel comments. 

"However, it is in fact the Arab states who are mostly ruled by dictatorial regimes who refuse its citizens the right to self expression including political expression", says Hagoel. "A report by the Arab Human Development United Nations program found that out of the seven regions of the world, Arab countries had the lowest freedom score." Hagoel continues,

"In contrast, Israel is considered to be one of the most open societies in the world. Israel is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women can vote. Both Arab men and women in Israel have equal voting rights along with all citizens and currently hold several seats in the Knesset".

The WZO's Center for Diaspora Communications and Countering Antisemitism is also active in promoting the conference. A group of interns and volunteers from Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and Turkey are working together with the WZO's Eitan Ori Behar, director of the center, in promoting the event in different languages and the organization's new iZionist.org.il website.

The Countering Anti-Semitism & Delegitimization of Israel conference is free and will take place Sunday, September 25th in New York City and feature interactive workshops led by prominent world Jewish leaders throughout the day. 

For further information and sign-up, click here: http://mim.io/fefc81