World Jewish Congress (WJC) leader Ronald S. Lauder addressed the Building Bridges Not Boycotts international summit at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York Tuesday, an event against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Lauder began by addressing the location.
"The United Nations was created 70 years ago out of the carnage of World War II," he began. "It was created on the broken bones of the Jewish people, with the pledge that the world would never see again the kind of human destruction that the Nazis forced on our people."
"But now, just 70 years later, this organization - of all places - has singled out the only Jewish State in the world, Israel, with lie after lie after lie," he continued. "So it is no accident that we chose to look at an equally dishonest campaign against the Jews – the BDS movement – right here at the United Nations."
The Jewish people have changed, he emphasized.
"The era of the quiet Jew, the timid Jew, the Ghetto Jew, is long over!" Lauder said. "Those tough leaders of the early Zionist movement buried that Jew three generations ago."
"We are no longer victims! We no longer have to rely on others to protect us!" he added. "And we are absolutely done being quiet - enough is enough!"
Lauder also noted that he "understands the popularity of BDS," and attempted to explain why it has received so much popular and media attention.
"A political boycott makes you feel good; it makes you feel important; it makes you part of the group," he said. "And who doesn’t want to be part of the “group?”
"Especially when you think you are doing good for mankind, like standing up against tyranny and fighting oppression," he continued. "Because when you are standing up to injustice, you are standing with Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, and even Moses."
"That is very seductive - especially when you are joined by beautiful celebrities, famous rock stars, and your favorite professors."
"This explains why people as different as British journalists and freshmen at NYU are part of the BDS movement."
Lauder then explained that the masses really are following the BDS movement blindly.
"I wonder if all those people that support BDS have the slightest understanding of what this movement really means," he said. "Those BDS supporters who join protest marches on campuses and chant: “From the River to the Sea … Palestine will be free!”
"I wonder if they realize that the River is the Jordan, the Sea is the Mediterranean, these activists are calling for the destruction of the State of Israel - and the campus groups “Justice For Palestine” and the “Muslim Student Association” have their roots with the Muslim Brotherhood."
"That’s the same Muslim Brotherhood that believes that the Koran should be the basis for every government - including our own."
"BDS is built on lies - nasty anti-Jewish lies," Lauder stressed. "And that puts everyone connected to BDS in some very bad company."
Anti-Semitism is as anti-Semitism does, he said.
"The plain truth is that today’s boycott against the State of Israel is no different from Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism of the 1920s , the Soviet bloc’s anti-Zionism of the 1950s and 60s [. . ] so when you march with BDS, you are marching with every anti-Semite."
Lauder then spoke at length about Israel's merits as a free and democratic country, where all religions, persons of varying sexual orientations, ethnicities, and races have equal rights -- in contradistinction to most of the Middle East.
"500,000 dead in Syria and Iraq - and Israel is charged with crimes against humanity," he fired. "We see no boycotts against North Korea, Sudan, Iran; only Israel."
"Make no mistake: the BDS movement doesn’t support the Palestinian people," Lauder concluded. "It is strictly a campaign to delegitimize Israel - which is simply the latest attempt to deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination."
"Every other people on earth have that right - but BDS wants to deny that basic right to Jews."
"Do the British have a right to Britain? Do the French have a right to France? Do Germans have a right to Germany?" he added. "Well, before there was a Great Britain … or a France … or a Germany …there was a Jewish Kingdom in the land of Judea - with a king, and a temple, with laws, and a Torah."
"If anyone doubts that - there is pretty strong historic back-up in the best selling book of all time," Lauder stated. "It’s called the Bible."
"So when someone says the Jewish State of Israel is not legitimate - that is one of the biggest lies of all time."