Yair Lapid, the former Israeli finance minister and head of a centrist Israeli political party (who is just as hawkish as the government but in opposition), made news this weekend at the Jerusalem Post conference in New York saying that the BDS — Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions– campaign against Israel is a puppet of Hamas and describing BDS leaders as “outright antisemites” linked to the “Palestinian Mufti who collaborated with the Nazis.”
I’m also here to talk about the BDS movement, which has to be confronted with all our force, both in Europe and here in the U.S. The situation is getting worse, the tide is turning and either we turn it back now or it will sweep over us. We are all aware of the situation on campuses, but the Palestinians are engaged in a concrete and extremely well funded effort to take their campaign to the next level.
At FIFA, the world football association, the disaster was averted at the last moment. In Europe we have already have lost much of the progressive center, and the CEO of one of the largest telecommunications firms has publicly said that he wants to cut business ties with Israel.
This is not about policies, or about the settlements, or about the peace process, this is classic anti-semitism in a modern disguise. In order to fight it, we need to move as the rabbi said, in the Vince Lombardi way, from defense to offense, and remind the world that behind these movements are the people responsible for 9/11, for the terror attacks in Madrid and London, and for the 250,000 people already killed in Syria.
In order to make this case, we need our American friends, we need the Jewish community. We really need you, all of you. We are ready to provide you with whatever support you need, but in this battle you are the foot soldiers on the front lines and we are counting on you. We can disagree on some of the aspects of government policy, but when faced with external enemy we unite. American says that politics stops at the water’s edge. This is our water’s edge. The way to defeat BDS is for us to stand together and to stand tall.
Lapid’s appeal, by the way, is reminiscent of Ruth Wisse of Harvard saying some years ago that
Every Israeli has to be in the Army for two or three years of his training at least and then a month of every year at least afterwards. I think that American Jews ought to think of themselves the same way, that for a certain part of your life you are just part of that army
Are you part of that army here in the U.S.? Is that your social identity: you have your differences with Israeli policy, but when the going gets tough, you are a footsoldier for that country here? Golly.