Minister Limor Livnat addressed Jews living in New York City on Saturday night, in an event in advance of her planned appearance at the AIPAC conference in Washington.
Livnat spoke about current affairs impacting Israel, including the latest attempts to boycott Israeli-made products.
There is a campaign to delegitimize Israel, she warned. It began with calls to boycott products made in Israeli communities east of the 1949 armistice line, and has spread to efforts to boycott Israeli universities and artists.
“Now there are calls to boycott all Israeli products, and comparisons of Israel’s government to apartheid,” she said.
“This is the face of the new anti-Semitism: disguised as liberalism and human rights, but underneath, it’s the same anti-Semitism,” she warned.
“This is the time to return fire,” she declared. Supporters of Israel can fight boycott efforts by supporting Israeli-made goods, and by emphasizing Israel’s contribution to the world, she suggested.
The goal is to ensure that the only ones to suffer due to boycotts will be the boycotters themselves, she said.
Livnat also spoke about the ongoing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The PA still refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, she said.
“This is the root of the conflict,” Livnat declared. The PA argues that “settlements” and territory are the root of the conflict, she noted, but that is “a big mistake.”
There are two reasons that PA leaders refuse to recognize Israel as the Jewish state, she continued. One, which PA leaders have openly admitted, is that recognition would essentially mean an end to the PA demand that millions of foreign-born Arab descendants of Arabs who fled pre-state Israel be allowed to “return.”
The second, she said, is that recognition of Israel within any borders would mean an end to the PA’s ability to make new territorial demands.
PA leaders’ “stubborn refusal” to recognize Israel raises serious doubts regarding the PA’s desire for real peace, she warned.