Lord Robert Winston
Lord Robert Winston UK in Israel

The British academic who pioneered IVF treatment, Lord Robert Winston, has dismissed academic supporters of the anti-Israel boycott as "mostly second-rate academics from minor universities who have never done anything."

Speaking to Haaretz newspaper on Monday before receiving an honorary doctorate at Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science, Lord Winston played down fears over the so-called BDS movement, as well as anti-Semitism in Britain as a whole.

"The people who have signed up for that boycott are mostly second-rate academics from minor universities who have never done anything. They really are," Winston stated. "Not exactly at the cutting edge of British intellectual thought."

Winston, who was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family, praised Israel's own extensive support of IVF treatment for infertile couples, and noted that throughout his career the rabbinic establishment backed him - even when other religious leaders, most notably the Catholic Church, branded his revolutionary work as "evil."

He also pointed out that many Biblical characters - including the Jewish people's patriarchs and matriarchs - famously struggled with infertility. Yet miraculously the Jewish nation emerged "from an infertile stock."

Winston is the latest British figure to criticize or dismiss the BDS movement.

Just last night (Monday), during a visit to Tel Aviv, London Mayor Boris Johnson derided BDS supporters as "a bunch of corduroy-jacketed lefty academics."

Last month 150 British artists signed a letter rejecting the BDS campaign.