Arad Nir
Arad NirArutz Sheva

Channel 2 News Foreign News Editor Arad Nir attended the afternoon panel discussion on combating BDS held at the 14th Jerusalem Conference.

Nir addressed the argument that the phenomena emanates from anti-Semitism and said, "I agree that there is an anti-Semitism rooted in the extreme left, and there is no doubt that part of the classic, latent anti-Semitism is expressed as anti-Israelism, no matter what."

However, warned Nir, "There is also a very distressing anti-Semitism to Jewish communities that originates with the extreme right. Those who drew swastikas in the US in recent weeks are not Muslims. They are extreme right.

"There is anti-Semitism in the extreme right, and the Israeli ruling party embraces the European extreme right and now also in the United States, giving it legitimacy and scoring it various political successes," said Nir.

"I think it's dangerous, I think it's problematic. Marine Le Pen does not love Israel or Jews, nor does the Austrian Strache or the Dutch Wilders," claimed Nir regarding prominent leaders of the European right.

"There is a problem here that the ruling party embraces those people, settler leaders meet with them and host them and see them as allies. They are not, and it's dangerous."

Geert Wilders, founder and leader of the Dutch Freedom Party to whom Nir referred, lived in Israel for two years during his youth working on a moshav, and has visited the country 40 times in the last 25 years.

Wilders has stated about Israel: "I have visited many interesting countries in the Middle East – from Syria to Egypt, from Tunisia to Turkey, from Cyprus to Iran – but nowhere did I have the special feeling of solidarity that I always get when I land at Ben Gurion International Airport." Wilders told audiences in Holland that "We [in the West] are all Israel".

He has also said "Israel is the West's first line of defence" against what he perceives to be a threat posed by Islam and has stated that "Jordan is Palestine. Changing its name to Palestine will end the conflict in the Middle East and provide the Palestinians with an alternate homeland." Wilders has also called on the Dutch government to refer to Jordan as Palestine and move its embassy to Jerusalem.