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Israel minister praises role of IHRA anti-Semitism definition in fight against BDS

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) sits next to Israeli Public security Minister Gilad Erdan during the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem's office on April 10, 2016. / AFP / POOL / GALI TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Israeli Public security Minister Gilad Erdan (L) on 10 April 2016 [GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images]

Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan yesterday praised the role played by a controversial definition of anti-Semitism in the fight against the Palestinian-led boycott campaign.

Speaking at a conference he described as “the most important gathering of the pro-Israel and anti-BDS community”, Erdan hailed the efforts being made to undermine the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign, telling delegates: “We built the network to fight the network.”

“We do have a lot to be proud of tonight,” the minister declared. “We did what we said we were going to do: We moved from defence to offense and put BDS on the defensive.”

In front of a reported 300 pro-Israel activists and “legal experts” from over 30 countries, Erdan stressed the importance of attacking BDS as “anti-Semitic”.

“More and more countries and institutions are adopting the IHRA and State Department definitions of anti-Semitism,” Erdan boasted, “which incorporate both classic and new anti-Semitism.”

Erdan also welcomed the role played by legislative efforts designed to stifle freedom of speech and political activism, claiming that “27 US States, Congress and the UK Government have adopted legislation and regulations against BDS”.

READ: Germany festival bars US rapper for refusing to condemn BDS

“Courts in Spain and France have ruled anti-Israel boycotts illegal, and convicted BDS activists,” he continued, adding that “there have been more than 50 lawsuits against BDS over the last several years, many of which have been successful.”

Assailing “BDS terrorists”, Erdan congratulated the gathered activists for their “commitment, dedication, and tireless efforts, together with those of my ministry and all of the relevant bodies in the Israeli government”.

The minister urged “national authorities” around the world to “investigate the activities of terror-linked BDS groups”, adding that “financial institutions should take into account the risks involved in doing business with them. No one should do business with terror.”

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