By ISRAEL HAYOM—
In the past, anti-Semites boycotted Jewish businesses and today they call for the boycott of the Jewish state, says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu • Finance Minister Yair Lapid: Lack of progress in peace talks would endanger stability of coalition.
European calls for a boycott of Israel are “an outrage,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.
“I think the most eerie thing, the most disgraceful thing, is to have people on the soil of Europe talking about the boycott of Jews,” Netanyahu told visiting American Jewish leaders in Jerusalem on Monday. “I think that is an outrage. That is something we are re-encountering. In the past, anti-Semites boycotted Jewish businesses and today, they call for the boycott of the Jewish state.
“I think it’s important that the boycotters must be exposed for what they are — they’re classical anti-Semites in modern garb. And I think we have to fight them.”
Netanyahu was addressing the annual mission to Israel of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro told the same group on Monday that the U.S. opposes, and will continue to oppose, boycotts of Israel.
Netanyahu said that world demand for Israeli technology would enable Israel to overcome any economic boycott campaigns. The prime minister said that heads of international high-tech companies with whom he has met “all want the same three things: Israeli technology, Israeli technology and Israeli technology.”
“The capacity to innovate is a great treasure of profound economic value in today’s world,” Netanyahu said. “And that is something that is bigger than all these boycotters could possibly address.”
Netanyahu also talked about the ongoing peace negotiations with the Palestinians, saying that people should question why Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is unwilling to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
“The root cause of this conflict is the refusal to accept the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own in any boundaries,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu expressed opposition to the deployment of international troops as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
“We’re perfectly capable of defending ourselves by ourselves against any threat,” Netanyahu said.
“If security collapses, it’s not only the peace that will collapse, it’s also the Palestinian Authority that will collapse and other important regional structures,” Netanyahu said. “So when we seek a peace that we can defend, that peace and that security serves not only us, but also our partners in peace.”
Finance Minister Yair Lapid also addressed the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations mission on Monday. Lapid, the head of Yesh Atid (the second-largest party in Israel’s governing coalition), warned that if the negotiations with the Palestinians did not move forward, the stability of the coalition would be jeopardized.