Call to name and shame BDS supporters

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ONE of America’s most high-profile Jewish leaders believes supporters of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel should be “named and shamed”.

American Jewish Committee (AJC) executive director David Harris (pictured), who will visit Australia next month, said there is a need to expose the people behind the BDS movement.

“Their goal is to delegitimise the State of Israel, not to promote peace and reconciliation,” Harris said.

He said they promote hatred under the guise of convincing people they are simply trying to find a peaceful solution to problems in the Middle East.

“On one hand, you try and expose and isolate the extremists – the people that do not want Israel to exist – and you expose them and name and shame them, and tell the whole world who they are.

“For those who have been carried along on this wave of hatred, you separate them by making it clear to them that the best way to achieve peace in the Middle East is through engagement and coexistence.”

Harris said when the motives of BDS proponents are exposed, it will be clear they are hypocritical for not supporting sanctions against Syria, Iran and other countries, which
violate human rights.

“What does it say about the BDS movement that the only country that rouses them into action is democratic Israel?”

Harris, who will visit Australia as a guest of the Jewish Communal Appeal and the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, warned that the Jewish community and Israel are facing uncertain times.

He said people may be anxious about attempts to delegitimise Israel, Holocaust denial, the use of the internet to promote anti-Semitism and Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but he is confident the Jewish people will survive.

“We are living in extraordinary dynamic and uncertain times, and that arouses a great deal of anxiety on the part of many Jews who look at the world today and wonder if things may be going from bad to worse,” he said.

“But I look at the same world and I believe in a more hopeful outlook where this may end up.”

JOSHUA LEVI