At AIPAC, Netanyahu launches “desperate” attack on BDS movement

BDS movement “will fail,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told cheering AIPAC delegates. (Screenshot)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today launched a frontal assault on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

“One movement that’s definitely on the wrong side of the moral divide is the movement to boycott Israel, the so-called BDS,” Netanyahu told the cheering delegates, in his keynote speech to the annual gathering of the powerful Israel lobby group AIPAC in Washington, DC.

“That movement will fail,” Netanyahu predicted.

While claiming that people were “flocking to Israel” for its technology from all over the world, Netanyahu warned, “I don’t want you to get complacent – because the fact that they’re going to fail doesn’t mean that the BDS movement shouldn’t be vigorously opposed.”


Netanyahu proceeded to defame supporters of Palestinian human rights in the crudest terms: “Throughout history, people believed the most outrageously absurd things about the Jews, that we were using the blood of children to bake matzos, that we were spreading the plague throughout Europe.”

Those who support BDS today are just as bad, Netanyahu asserted: “Those who wear the BDS label should be treated exactly as we treat any anti-Semite or bigot. They should be exposed and condemned. The boycotters should be boycotted.”

This speech is Netanyahu’s highest profile attack on BDS, although last summer, he put responsibility for fighting against the movement for Palestinian rights into the hands of the “Ministry of Strategic Affairs.”

Israel is also placing dedicated anti-BDS operatives in its foreign embassies.

In recent months, top ministers in Netanyahu’s government have repeatedly declared that BDS is the “greatest threat” Israel faces.


Responding to his remarks, Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, the Palestinian civil society coalition that leads the BDS movement, said in an emailed statement:

“Netanyahu’s desperate attack on the BDS movement comes as European pension funds are blacklisting Israeli companies and banks, as Israeli concert organizers find it increasingly difficult to persuade artists to perform in Israel and as governments begin to take action to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law.”

“At its core, the BDS movement is a movement against Israel’s systematic discrimination and apartheid policies. The BDS movement is opposed, as a matter of principle, to all forms of discrimination, including anti-semitism and Islamophobia. The world is growing increasingly weary of Israel’s attempts to conflate criticism of its violations of international law with anti-semitism.”

Ziadah is right. It’s hard to see how people who are not already on board with Netanyahu will be swayed by his invective.

If Israel’s only answer to people all over the world who are horrified by its oppression of Palestinians and ongoing theft of their land, is to call them “bigots,” then Netanyahu should fully expect the BDS movement to grow.




Yeah, we are desperate! I'm so nervous thinking on BDS that I don't sleep many nights. And when I sleep I have nightmares in which Omar Barghouti chases me. Please guys, be serious! BDS will never win the battle against the State of Israel. Get over it and you'll be happier!


Your post has one element I've seen in Pro-Israel rants for decades, the "drop it, you'll be happier" plea. Yeah, ignorance is bliss, isn't it. Whistle past the graveyard.

How about this, if you are Israeli, try supporting freedom for Palestine Take the moral high ground. Support justice. Stop lying for Israel.

If you have any semblance of a conscience, you'll feel better about yourself.

Also, I see a note of fear in your post regarding BDS. Trying hard to say it won't work, but begging supporters to give it up? Funny stuff there.


Your comments, CT, are right on. Israel suffers from collective paranoia. Israel can solve its security problems tomorrow by: getting out of Palestine (okay, just go back to 1949 with a contiguous Palestine), demilitarizing and getting serious about reparations beginning by handing over all those lovely hilltop homes and infrastructure as PART reparation. Since the USA paid for most of it, Israel would not have lost anything. Also, if you give back what you stole, have you lost anything? New paradigms, please. I am reading Max Blumenthal's Goliath, which I found out about through ei--keep up the good work.


I wouldn't bet on it but I will bet on one thing; Netanyahu and his fellow bully boys will end up in the gutter where they belong!


The BDS movement WILL NOT FAIL it grows stronger every day!!


Netanyahu and friends have played and abused the "Anti-Semite" card so often that it sounds like a mantra that they keep repeating without even considering its meaning. Albert Einstein was a critic of the type of ultranationalism that is gripping Israel today. I bet if he were alive today even HE would be accused of Anti-Semitism.

Clearly, those who are throwing this term around are abusing it in order to try to discredit their opponents. I discuss this in much greater detail here:


Even a small squeeze in the economy hurts in Israel.

AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY. This work is not from a Palestinian perspective
but from an Israeli and AIPAC point of view.

Chapter 9 in the book, pp. 217-240, delves into economic realities in
Israel. Reading it and translating it to today's world will help us in dealing
with the nuts and bolts of how Israel works. It will not dismantle a wall. It will not "solve" Palestinian issues for which those of us who support BDS strive.


Bibi's latest rant against BDS suggests that the BDS movement is having some effect. This is very encouraging to all those opposed to Israel's brutal occupation of Palestinian lands. It confirms my belief that BDS is the non-violent approach that will bring Israel to its senses, as it previously did in South Africa, and persuade it to cease its apartheid policies. let every moral person redouble his/her efforts behind BDS by at least having a list of products to boycott.