The World Jewish Congress and Israel’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations on Wednesday hosted more than 2,000 dignitaries, public officials, NGO representatives at the UN headquarters for the second Ambassadors Against BDS summit. The opening session of the conference was held in the iconic General Assembly Hall of the United Nations.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said: "The effort to delegitimize the state of Israel being waged on college campuses and the anti-Israel obsession at the UN are one in the same. They both seek to deny Israel’s right to exist. [...] They are both extensions of an ancient hatred. And how tragic is it that, of all the countries in the world to condemn for human rights violations, these voices choose to single out Israel.
"Iran, Syria, North Korea and other barbaric regimes are excused by the BDS movement. It makes no sense. And it has no connection to any reasonable definition of justice," said Haley.
In his keynote address, WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert R. Singer, who spoke on behalf of WJC President Ronald S. Lauder, thanked Haley for standing with Israel and standing “up against the bias that prevails here.”
Singer also criticized the anti-Israel BDS movement, saying: “The boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement says it wants peace. It claims to fight under the banner of human rights. But this movement is based on lies, incitement, and deception. BDS is not about peace. BDS is not about helping the Palestinians. BDS is not about human rights. What BDS really wants is to deny the Jewish people’s right to a homeland in Israel.”
“We must tell all who question Israel’s very right to exist: The State of Israel is not up for negotiation. The State of Israel is here to stay,” Singer declared. Pointing to recent measures taken by governments and other institutions against BDS, he added: "Operation Fightback is underway, and we are winning." Singer noted that the "Winds of change are blowing even here, at UN Headquarters."
Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Danny Danon, welcomed the particpants of the summit, also criticizing the United Nations anti-Israel bias: "The halls of the UN are now being infiltrated by the boycott movement. The UN’s Human Rights Council is creating a blacklist of companies and corporations operating in parts of Israel. This is pure anti-Semitism, and together with the US, our greatest ally, we will keep fighting until BDS is eliminated.”
“We are here today with a simple message for those who seek to harm the Jewish state and the Jewish people. We will keep fighting until we eliminate BDS completely, from the campuses to the UN, and we will keep fighting until anti-Semitism is finally defeated,” Danon added.
Other speakers at the opening included Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky and Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice.
Photo: Shahar Azran