Israel Faces 'Assault' on its Basic Legitimacy

All 'people of conscience' must reject BDS, Gilad Erdan tells delegation of international MPs who signed resolution to support Israel.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Erdan Accepts MPs Vow for Support
Erdan Accepts MPs Vow for Support
Avi Chayun

 

Israel's Minister of Internal Security and Strategic Affairs, Gilad Erdan, spoke on Thursday before a delegation of international parliamentarians as part of the Israel Allies Foundation's annual Jerusalem Chairman's Conference. 

After meeting with senior Israeli officials on Tuesday and touring the country on Wednesday, the delegation of 22 MPs drafted and signed a resolution Thursday declaring their support for Israel and vowing to take a stance against anti-Israel movements such as BDS. 

On behalf of the Israeli government, the resolution was accepted by Erdan, who thanked the MPs for their vocal support of the "thriving" Jewish state. 

Calling the BDS movement "immoral" and "anti-peace," Erdan expressed gratitude for allies like the parliamentarians and said friends of Israel and Palestinians alike should reject BDS and instead work for true peace. 

A full text of Erdan's speech can be seen below:

Distinguished members of parliament, honored guests, dear friends,

It is a great honor to accept this resolution, and to welcome you to Jerusalem. One of the most important elements of the Sukkot holiday is to welcome guests into your Sukkah. In a figurative sense we welcome in the great figures of Jewish history- Abraham, Issac and Jacob, Moses and King David. In a literal sense we welcome in family and friends. It therefore gives me great pleasure to welcome you here today.

Friends, as you have seen and heard over the last several days, Israel is a thriving country, an almost unbelievable success story.
It is a country of many cultures and religions that maintains a vibrant, if sometimes noisy, democracy.

A country faced with unparalleled security challenges, which nevertheless guarantees human rights and freedoms to all. A country of few natural resources and many enemies, which has established an innovative and growing economy. A country built on an ancient history, which is making the world a better place through modern medicine, science, and agriculture.

Yet today Israel faces, as you have rightly noted, an unprecedented assault on its basic legitimacy and international standing. Israel's enemies have learned that Israel cannot be overcome by conventional warfare or terrorism. They have therefore turned to political, economic and legal warfare as a means to achieve their ultimate goal- putting an end to Israel's existence as the national homeland of the Jewish people.

A central element of this assault is what has become known as the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, or BDS. Let me be clear- the BDS campaign in not only a challenge for the State of Israel and the Jewish people- it is a threat to all those committed to peace, to justice, and to universal human rights.

At its heart, the BDS campaign is based on deception and twisting reality. It hopes that by piling lie upon lie in the boardroom, college campus, and church assembly, it will be able to obscure the truth. It hopes that by manipulating the language of human rights and liberal values, it will be able to hide its real goals, which are anything but liberal.

It is a campaign based upon intimidation and coercion. When artists refuse to give in to BDS demands, BDS activists bully them. When corporations reject BDS pressure, BDS activists threaten them. When those on the left have the courage to speak out against BDS, they are immediately silenced and branded traitors.

The BDS movement must be rejected by all people of conscience for two key reasons: It is immoral and it is anti-peace.

It is immoral because it distorts the truth, demonizes the Jewish state, and subjects it to a campaign of libel and hate that would make history's greatest anti-Semites proud.

It is immoral because it holds the entire world to one standard and Israel to another, singles it out for sanctions, blames it for the world's problems and seeks to portray it as the epitome of evil.

The comparison of Israel to Apartheid South Africa or the American Jim Crow South is not only an affront to Israel and the Jewish people- It is an insult to the millions who suffered, and the brave men and women who fought against the apartheid and Jim Crow regimes. Anyone with even a basic understanding of the State of Israel understands that all such comparisons are baseless, groundless and disconnected from reality.

The BDS movement is anti-peace because it drives people apart rather than bringing them together, creates barriers and closes doors rather than building bridges and opening hearts.

It is a well-known principle of conflict resolution that a viable peace must be built upon dialogue and trust, mutual understanding and respect, both between leaders and between peoples.

If anyone is looking for a way to ensure that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lasts another hundred years, they should support the BDS movement.

For the rest of however, for all those who dream of a better future for Israeli and Palestinian children, and tranquility in the Holy Land- what can be done to turn that dream into a reality?

Prime Minister Netanyahu has called on the Palestinian leadership, over and over again, to walk with him down the only path that can lead to a lasting and viable peace- direct negotiations without preconditions in which all issues are on the table. We recognize that peace will require difficult negotiations, hard decisions and even painful compromises. There is no other way.

Therefore, parliaments, civil society organizations and people of conscience world-wide should do all that they can to encourage both sides to sit down at the negotiating table, without preconditions and without games. They should call on Mahmoud Abbas to stop wasting time on hateful speeches and empty gestures in the international arena, which do nothing to help the Palestinian people.

They should work to convince governments and particularly the European Union that one-sided sanctions and pressure against Israel only make peace more difficult to achieve. They convince the Palestinian leadership that it can achieve its political goals without negotiations or compromise, and the Israeli public that it cannot rely on the international community.

They should demand that the Palestinian Authority end its daily racist and anti-Semitic incitement against Israel on official PA TV, radio, newspapers, schools and summer camps. They should insist that the Palestinian leadership promote a culture of peace, and prepare its people for reconciliation and an end to the conflict. They should assist in developing a Palestinian government which respects the rule of law, human rights and freedoms.

Friends of both Israel and the Palestinians should reject and oppose the BDS movement in all its forms. This is not an issue of Left or Right, of Democrats or Republicans, Conservatives or Labour, Socialists or Christian Democrats. Opposition to BDS should be shared by all those who value human rights, who seek justice and who love peace. We appreciate the work that the Israel Allies Foundation is doing all over the world to oppose BDS and expose its true face.

Friends, I have to say that I am optimistic and hopeful. I am hopeful because in the end one cannot distort reality and hide the truth forever. One of our main goals is to bring as many people to Israel as possible. One hour in Israel, meeting its people, walking its streets, seeing its diversity, is enough to bring the towers of lies erected by the BDS campaign crashing down. We say that Israel sells itself. All we need to do is make sure that people have the opportunity to come and see it for themselves.

So I am hopeful because reality and truth are on our side. I am hopeful because the Jewish people have overcome great challenges time and time again throughout their history. And I am hopeful because I know that Israel has great friends and allies around the world like yourselves.

Thank you very much.



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