An anti-Israel march. (AP/Remy de la Mauviniere) (AP/Remy de la Mauviniere)
anti Israel protest

Ahead of a UN conference hosted by the Israeli mission and World Jewish Congress to combat BDS, Holland has declared it to be legal and a right of free speech.

Calls to boycott the Jewish State fall within the realm of free speech and will therefore remain legal in the Netherlands, the Dutch government stated.

The declaration was made as Israel is in the midst of a campaign to have BDS outlawed in Western countries.

“Statements or meetings concerning BDS are protected by freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as enshrined in the Dutch Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights,” Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said Thursday during a debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the Dutch parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in The Hague, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Dutch Ambassador to Israel Gilles Beschoor Plug told the Post that there has been no change in government policy, and that Holland does not support BDS. However, “supporting BDS by people in Holland is not illegal and therefore it falls within the limits of freedom.”

The decision follows a similar move by Sweden.

In response to the Dutch move, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon told the Post that “once free speech becomes a pretext for allowing hate speech, then it is no longer legitimate.”

“The statement of the Dutch Foreign Minister is puzzling and difficult to understand,” he added. “How could someone, on the one hand, be against hatred and boycott, but on the other hand justify people who advocate this hatred policy under the guise of freedom of speech?”

Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon, together with the World Jewish Congress (WJC), will host an anti-BDS conference titled “Building Bridges, Not Boycotts” at the world body.

‘BDS is the Modern Incarnation of Anti-Semitism’

The conference, scheduled for next Tuesday, will include the participation of over 1,500 students, activists, legal professionals and opinion-makers, and will be the largest gathering to date focusing on battling the anti-Israel BDS movement.

“BDS is the modern incarnation of anti-Semitism,” Danon stated ahead of the conference. “Holding this anti-BDS summit in the UN General Assembly will bring together an international coalition against the boycott movement, and will send a clear message to all of our adversaries – Israel will not relent and will continue to reveal the lies propagated by the BDS movement.”

“The anti-Israel narrative on campuses and in diplomatic halls has spun out of control and has proven itself to be part and parcel with an anti-Semitic agenda, aimed at delegitimizing the Jewish state and its right to exist,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder. “Our enemies have tried to defeat us militarily and economically, and they have failed. Now they are trying to defeat us politically, and although they may think that this time they are winning, we will not stop fighting until they fail.”

“The Jewish people must not let themselves be dragged into defeatism, or into victimhood. Our young people must be equipped with the tools to face adversity and to help the Jewish people remain strong and eternal,” Lauder added. “The Jewish people have the right to statehood and to remain a thriving member of the international community. We will not let our enemies defeat us.”

By: United with Israel Staff