Ronald Lauder, the head of the World Jewish Congress, spoke out against BDS at the Ynet conference on Tuesday. "There is a real threat, and it's called BDS," he began.
"What was [BDS leader Omar Barghouti's] goal?" he asked. "To destroy the Jewish homeland. And BDS is the international campaign to incite hostility against Israel and the Jewish people."
As proof, Lauder pointed out that those who push for boycotts often discount the damage they do to the very Palestinians they claim to be helping. "BDS has no interest in peace and no interest in improving the daily lives of the Palestinian people."
However, he noted that it is easy for innocent Jewish youths entering universities.
"On the legal front we are winning. The next fight is at colleges and universities. I have long believed that our greatest asset is our children and their education. And yet, from the moment our children arrive at schools, at universities, at colleges, they face a barrage of anti-Semitic lies.
"This is particularly dangerous because, for many young people, college is their first exposure to the history of politics in the Middle East. These young people are especially vulnerable to being exposed to the harsh propaganda of anti-Israeli activists.
"At many schools, there are some excellent pro-Israeli groups. But it's difficult for them to compete against the well-financed anti-Israeli groups, like the Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association."
In response to this threat, Lauder explained a new project to give pro-Israeli students a broader base of support, similar to what anti-Israeli groups have. "The World Jewish Congress and I have a bold plan to create a network of Jewish political organization at key colleges and universities. Not just in the US, but across the globe. We'll help Jewish students stand up to anti-Israeli radicals and their lies."
He pointed out that the Israeli government has tried similar measures in the past, but that such moves are often counterproductive. They help BDS activists claim that the Israeli government is trying to shut them down and put Israel in a bad light.
"These academic boycotts are no different than the Nuremberg Laws that kept Jewish professors out of German universities. Think about it. Academic boycotts run counter to the very mission of colleges and universities. Colleges and universities should encourage the free flow of ideas. But, too often, we have seen Israel's viewpoint shouted down or shut out."
Finally, he offered positive actions to show the true face of Israel and the widespread love and support it receives.
"We also need to counter the goals for boycotts with a coordinated campaign to encourage people to buy Israeli goods. Much like the successful 'Buy America' campaign, we need people to say proudly, 'Buy Israeli.' You can begin today by using the hashtag #BuyIsraeli on social media whenever you buy one of the many Israeli consumer goods we know and love. We will let the world know that we are proud to support Israel's economy."
"We will stand up for what is right and we will expose BDS for the fraud it is. What is BDS? BDS is nothing more than a dangerous new strain of an age-old disease. And that disease is anti-Semitism," he reiterated at the end.