Everyone is talking about Netanyahu’s speech to the Jewish group the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations last night in Jerusalem, calling the BDS movement anti-Semitic. And explaining that Israel can take it on, because two of the three top technology centers in the world are in Israel. Here’s the Guardian today. Here’s the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Here are two tweets from the Israeli Prime Minister:
Arutz Sheva has the video, above. And here’s my transcript:
There is a new campaign against us. Having failed to dislodge us with weapons, with armies, with terrorists, with rockets, with missiles, they now think that they will dislodge us with boycotts. And that’s nothing new, we’ve had that in our history as well, you know the boycotts of Jews, and I think the most eerie thing, the most disgraceful thing, is to have people on the soil of Europe talking about the boycott of Jews. I think that’s an outrage. But that is something that we’re re-encountering. In the past, anti-Semites boycotted Jewish businesses and today they call for the boycott of the Jewish state. And by the way, only the Jewish state.
Now don’t take my word for it. The founders of the BDS movement make their goals perfectly clear. They want to see the end of the Jewish state. They’re quite explicit about it. And I think it’s important that the boycotters must be exposed for what they are. They’re classical anti-Semites in modern garb. And I think we have to fight them. It’s time to delegitimize the delegitimizers. And it’s time that we fight back. I know all of you participate in this.
There are two ways of fighting back. One is exposing them. And the other is something that is happening and they can’t do very much about it. I’ll tell you what it is. You know, I meet heads of state and captains of industry as they’re called, that is, founders and leaders of big companies and some small companies and medium sized companies. They’re all coming to Israel. Including today– I had a meeting with another head of state. And they all want the same three things: Israeli technology, Israeli technology, and Israeli technology. They crave it, they thirst for it, because they know that we’re in the knowledge century. They know that Israel is the repository of great genius, great creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation, scientific capability, out-of-the-box thinking.
This is a tremendous capacity that we have. It’s crystallized here for a variety or reasons It’s not always easy to explain why these things happen, but it’s very important for us to recognize that we possess a great treasure. The capacity to innovate is a great treasure of profound economic value in today’s world. And that is something that is bigger than all these boycotters could possibly address. Because people are coming here…the old powers and the new powers, you know, the new world powers, you know the superpowers, Google, Yahoo… They all want to participate in this, they all understand that the world economy is being propelled forward by the internet. The internet requires cyber protection. You have to protect your bank accounts, your privacy, your communications, the power lines, the power grids, traffic lights, train schedules. All of that is run today in the digital world and all of that requires protection, and we happen to have a capacity to protect it.
And so for this and for many many other reasons, Israel is being sought after. I say the response that we have to the BDS, is two fold. One, expose them. The second is outflank them. We have the economic future of the world in Israel. We have it because we support it, we develop it. And somebody said to me you know there are only two real centers of high-tech innnovation. This was said to me by a young man whose company is worth today worht $9 billion. And two years ago was worth $1 billion. No I won’t be giving out the name. And he said to me there are only two centers of high tech innovation int he world. He said, Palo Alto and Tel Aviv. I said, Correction, add Beersheva. Because Beersheva will be the new cyber capital of Israel. And you should see what is happening today in the south of Israel, in the Negev, this fantastic growth, this fantastic explosion. We’re putting highways and railways to the north and to the south. It makes Israel sound like an enormous country. We’re just doing what the United States did in the nineteenth century. But we’re doing it.
We’re connecting the periphery. We’re trying to eliminate the periphery, and the most important lines that we’re paving are the fast cyber, or rather the fast fiber that we’re putting from Kiryat Shimona to Eilat. That’s the real highway. That’s the information highway that every child, every boy every girl in Israel, Jew non Jew, Druze Christian Muslim Bedouins, they’re all going to be connected to it.
And it’s a fabulous future that we have. I think we’re perfectly suited for the information society… And we’re consciously opening ourselves up including to the cyber companies of the world. We’re doing this because I believe in Israel’s future.
I believe we can overcome all these challenges that we face but we have to be clear about the challenges.