While the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has recently scored some troubling victories in Europe—including labels on Israeli products noting their settlement origins—high-level European officials have also are speaking out against the BDS movement itself. Just months after the British issued guidance opposing boycotts against Israel, two European government ministers have both taken time to publicly speak out against BDS.
In a visit on Sunday with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Italian Education Minister Stefania Giannini said, “We want to also make clear our stand against BDS. This is the strong and clear position of the Italian Government.” Giannini, according a press release from Rivlin’s office, noted that “education is our best weapon against extremism and hatred,” while highlighting 15 yeas of Italy-Israel cooperation in education and science. These comments came days after a similar sentiment from the Foreign Minister of Finland while speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Timo Soini, Finland’s top diplomat, last week “emphasized that Finland opposed boycotts against Israel and expressed complete opposition to BDS activity” according to a press release from Netanyahu’s office.
While two public statements do not undo the damage done by actions such as the settlement labels—which make it easier to boycott Israeli products—it nonetheless offers hope that at least there are European leaders who don’t want those boycotts to occur. And some are saying so.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, June 5, 2016)