Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that a Palestinian-led campaign to boycott Israeli goods was reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s campaign against Jews.
Meeting with visiting Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna, Netanyahu raised the issue of “the defamation of the Jewish people” on Polish soil when the Nazis controlled much of Europe.
“The attacks on the Jews were always preceded by the slander of the Jews. What was done to the Jewish people then is being done to the Jewish state now,” Netanyahu said.
“In those days we could do nothing. Today we can speak our mind, hold our ground. We’re going to do both.”
The Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign aims to put political and economic pressure on Israel over its occupation of the Palestinian territories, in a bid to repeat the success of the efforts that ended apartheid in South Africa.
The campaign has been garnering huge attention in Israel, especially following a row with French telecoms giant Orange that saw its CEO travel to Jerusalem to insist the company did not support a boycott.
Netanyahu’s government has launched a major diplomatic and media counter-offensive, repeatedly accusing the campaign’s backers of seeking the destruction of Israel.
“We will continue to resist boycotts, defamations, de-legitimisation,” he said on Monday.