The fight against BDS

April 11, 2014 by  
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In a keynote speech in London, World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder on Monday called on Jewish community and organizational leaders to step up the battle against the anti-Israel Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment (BDS) movement, saying that this was perhaps the most important thing they would ever do.

Ronald S. Lauder

Ronald S. Lauder

Such work “is not a burden or even a challenge. [It] is an honor,” Lauder said, urging the dinner’s participants to motivate highly skilled professionals to work on Israel’s behalf. “We will send the message that a campaign against Israel is a double-edge sword …. We are not powerless — far from it. We have the resources. We have the intelligence….Most important, we have unbounded determination.”

The World Jewish Congress has been actively countering BDS on campuses and in university environments. In 2013, at Lauder’s direction, the WJC undertook the Global Campus Initiative (GCI), a joint project with the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) and the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) that aims to counter the attempts to boycott, divest from, and sanction or delegitimize Israel across universities and campuses worldwide. GCI held a day-long anti-boycott training session at the WUJS annual conference in Jerusalem in December 2013 and supported the South African Union of Jewish Students in its recent “Give Peace Wings” campaign to provide a positive, pro-Israel alternative to Israel Apartheid Week.

Lauder also spoke out vigorously late last year when the American Studies Association voted to undertake a boycott of Israeli universities in the US, calling that decision an instance of “Orwellian antisemitism” and saying that it showed why many Americans find academia “deeply biased and disconnected with reality.”

In his speech, Lauder proposed that the world Jewish community step up its anti-BDS efforts by seeking to stop the campaign to delegitimize Israel legislatively, in the courts, and in the court of public opinion.

“We will draft and lobby for legislation that will withhold government funding from academic institutions that boycott Israel,” Lauder told the London gathering. “We will draft and lobby for federal – anti-discrimination statutes in the United States against banks, businesses and governments that target only Israel. We will follow the money to find out just who is funding these attacks on Israel and if there is any connection to terrorism.”

Other speakers included MP Alistair Burt; the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub; and Israeli Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz. The dinner was co-hosted by Lauder and Poju Zabludowicz, President of BICOM and trustee of the Jewish Leadership Council. Attendees included members of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which is a WJC affiliate.


2 Responses to “The fight against BDS”
  1. Dear Mr. Lauder,
    Perhaps you should speak LOUDER. It seems nobody can hear, the world has a hearing impairment and could do with hearing aids. As for me.. I’m going to use reverse psychology and wear T-shirts with S.D.B “Palestine”=Judea & Samaria and Gaza. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of flack but I can’t just sit and do nothing to stop the lies from flowing.

  2. Harry Rich says:

    President Ronald Lauder is a man I respect and admire tremendously

    He is an action man, he is not into theory and letter-writing but engaged in action,
    countering the BDS movement and this article shows clearly how he is going about this most difficult task.
    We need more action men like him and not men or women who only speak or write about this pernicious movement and its origins

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