NEW YORK (JTA) — Thousands filled the United Nations General Assembly hall for a conference opposing the BDS movement.
The conference on Wednesday, sponsored by the World Jewish Congress and Israel’s mission to the U.N., focused on ways to combat the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel. Sessions concerned opposing BDS on campus, among private corporations, on social media and at the U.N. itself — a body Israel and the United States have accused of being biased against Israel.
Israeli U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon, opening the conference, criticized the U.N. Human Rights Council decision last year to create a so-called “blacklist” of companies that operate in Israel’s West Bank settlements.
“The halls of the U.N. are now being infiltrated by the boycott movement,” he said. He called the blacklist effort “pure anti-Semitism” and said that “together with the U.S., our greatest ally, we will keep fighting until BDS is eliminated.”
Earlier this month, a U.N. affiliate published a report accusing Israel of apartheid. But the report was removed from the internet soon afterward due to objections from U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., told the conference BDS efforts as well as anti-Israel activity at the U.N. “seek to deny Israel’s right to exist.” Haley has promised to use her position to defend Israel at the United Nations.
“They are both efforts to intimidate her friends and embolden her enemies,” she said. “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.”
The halls of the @UN are now being infiltrated by BDS. The Human Rights Council is creating a blacklist of companies operating in Israel pic.twitter.com/7Beqxx3jTd— Ambassador Danon (@dannydanon) March 29, 2017