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Israel holds international conference against BDS

Image of a BDS rally [McGill Daily/Flickr]
BDS rally [McGill Daily/Flickr]

The Israeli government yesterday held an international legal conference against the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Quds Press reported.

The news site reported Israeli media saying that the Ministry of Strategic Affairs organised the conference in cooperation with the Israeli Bar Association and the International Judicial Institute.

Israeli media said that 200 legal experts from 24 countries were invited to the conference to develop strategies “to contain the growing influence of the movement”.

According to Quds Press, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and head of the opposition Isaac Herzog were in attendance.

Read: New Israel bill to ban ministers from taking part in BDS activities

In a statement, the organisers described the conference as “another step in fulfilling our policy of going on the offensive against those who seek to destroy Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Participants were briefed about “effective methods used to pass legislation in 24 states across the US, France, Germany and elsewhere” and “gained tools and best-practices, while streamlining their tactics against efforts to ostracise the Jewish state.”

Inspired by the global campaign against apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was launched in 2005 as a non-violent campaign to press Israel to heed international law and end its occupation of territory Palestinians seek for a state.

Artists who have boycotted Israel include Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Elvis Costello.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government has long campaigned against the BDS movement, describing it as anti-Semitic and an attempt to erase Israel’s legitimacy.

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