Without knives or missiles but with an explosive payload consisting of outrageous lies – genocide, apartheid and crimes against humanity – the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is conquering a growing number of strongholds in Europe, the United States and elsewhere. From the campuses of California to the supermarkets of Paris, the academic, economic and cultural boycott is becoming a palpable threat to the international status of the State of Israel.

While hundreds of thousands of refugees flee for their lives from the infernos of Syria and Iraq, when Islamic terrorism from the school of ISIS runs amok in the heart of Paris and even reaches a peaceful city in California, while the regime of the ayatollahs in Tehran invests billions in supporting terrorist organizations, and the North Korean leader boasts of having tested a hydrogen bomb, more and more Westerners – many of them students and academics at the leading universities in the United States and United Kingdom – ironically view Israel as the source of all evil in the universe.

Israel has no get-out-of-criticism-free card. Unfortunately, defending itself against terrorism generates injustices and harms the innocent. For years, the Settlement Projecthas been at the core of a public debate dividing Israeli society. But make no mistake: the BDS movement does not take aim solely at the "occupation" of Judea and Samaria, but against the very idea that Jews have a right to a state of their own.
In the last eight months, the daily Yedioth Ahronoth and the affiliated news site Ynet have conducted a campaign against BDS, using all the tools at their disposal. Under the banner, “Fighting BDS,” the paper and the website have published a series of articles, including interviews with people on the frontlines of the battle against the boycott, and with its victims, current news items about the phenomenon in all its various guises, and in-depth investigative pieces revealing how the boycott mechanisms operate in the fields of culture, the academe, the economy and sports.

As part of this campaign and as a result of the recognition of the burning national need to provide the government with a strong tailwind and the tools with which to fight BDS, we decided to hold a special conference entitled “Stop the Boycott,” with the participation of statesmen and women, political leaders and key figures in the fields of culture, the
economy and law from Israel and around the world.

The  the Conference will take place on Monday, March 28, 2016, at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem.


Conference Program

Conference host: Dana Weiss
Reception and registration

Opening assembly – Fighting the anti-Israel boycott
  • Ron Yaron – Yedioth Ahronoth Editor, Conference Chair
  •  A conversation with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, hosted by Dr. Yoaz Hendel
  • Gilad Erdan – Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs, and Information (Likud party)
  • Ron Lauder – President of the World Jewish Congress
  • A Personal Column – Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth Ahronoth
Diplomatic panel on combating the boycott through state action
The anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) movement, which is gaining a foothold in various countries all over the Western world, is causing heavy damage to the State of Israel and its citizens. Although this is the eleventh hour, it is not too late. This is why the State of Israel must make a clear decision to fight the boycott with every tool at its disposal. The fight must be initiated by the State of Israel, must make use of combined forces and be carried out globally at all levels. It must include: quiet and overt diplomacy (mobilizing countries with which we have strategic relations), legislative initiatives against the BDS movement in the various countries, public-relations efforts, mobilization of the Jewish world, and coordinated action with all the agencies and organizations that work against the BDS movement. The speakers on the panel will present, each in his own field of experience and expertise, the actions that must be taken in order to deal with BDS — with emphasis on the diplomatic, media and legal spheres — and will discuss the question of where the boundary lies between legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies and challenging its very right to exist.
  • Host: Dr. Ronen Bergman- Yedioth Ahronoth Commentator
    Professor Uzi Arad – Chair of the Grand Strategy Forum; former national security advisor
  • Dani Dayan – former Chairman of Yesha Council (Judea, Samaria, and Gaza Council)
  • Lars Faaborg – Andersen - head of the EU delegation to Israel
  • Colonel (Ret.) Pnina Sharvit-Baruch - Senior researcher at The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Member of "Dvora – women in foreign policy and defense"


Fighting BDS

Political leaders will each have 8 minutes to respond to three questions dealing with their proposals on how to fight the boycott movement.
  • Host: Yuval Karni -  Yedioth Ahronoth journalist
  • Yitzhak Herzog – Knesset Opposition Leader, Zionist Union party Chairperson
  • Yair Lapid – Chairperson of Yesh Atid party
  • Moshe Kahlon – Minister of Finance, Chairperson of Kulanu party
  • Naftali Bennett – Minister of Education, Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Chairperson of HaBayit HaYehudi party
  • Aryeh Mahlouf Deri – Minister of the Interior and Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee. Chairperson of Shas
  • Tzipi Livni – Chairperson of Hatnuah Knesset faction



  • Comedienne Rosanne Barr in a one-on-one conversation with Yedioth Ahronoth reporter Yaniv Halili
The cost of the boycott – the economic panel
More and more Israeli companies — not only those that operate over the Green Lineand provide services to Jewish settlers — are being threatened with boycotts simply because they are Israeli. Foreign companies that have trade relationships with Israel or provide equipment to the Israeli defense establishment face similar threats (only recently, the Presbyterian Church in the United States decided to divest from the Caterpillar heavy machinery company,because it “provides bulldozers that demolish the homes of Palestinians”).Worker federations in various countries are also at the forefront of the boycott; they organize strikes by port workers, who refuse to unload goods that come from Israel. The speakers on the panel will describe the day-to-day handling of the economic boycott; show the severe damage that it causes to farmers, industrialists, exporters and the Israeli economy as a whole; and suggest ways to cope with BDS, while cooperating with the State of Israel’s official representatives in Western countries, in the fields of commerce and economics.
  • Host: Sever Plocker, Yedioth Ahronoth Commentator
  • Daniel Birnbaum – CEO of SodaStream
  • Shmuel ‘Mooly’ Edan – former senior vice president at Intel Corporation and president of Intel Israel
  • Michael Jonas – CEO of Afek Oil and Gas
  • Ofra Strauss – Chairperson of the Strauss Groups
  • Hanoch Daum – making fun of the BDS movement


The Faculty of Hatred – the academic panel
Several leading universities in the West have turned into bastions of the BDS movement in recent years. Anti-Israel demonstrations are a common sight on campuses, and it is possible that some of the students who are now crying out loudly against the “genocide” and “apartheid” that Israel is supposedly perpetrating may one day occupy key positions in politics, legal institutions or the global economy. Just as worrying is the “silent boycott” that several academic organizations have declared (the Middle East Studies Association, the American Anthropological Association, and the American Studies Association, to name a few) in an effort to cut Israel off from the academic world and put an end to cooperation in the fields of science and research. This means that academic journals refuse to publish papers by Israeli researchers (no matter what their political positions may be), which hurts the researchers’ chances for promotion. Lecturers avoid academic conferences that are held in Israel, and there has been a significant decline in cooperation between Israeli scientists and international research and development companies. On the other hand, there are quite a few leading academics, including heads of universities, who strongly object to the boycott. The speakers on the panel will present the implications of the boycott on Israeli research and suggest ways of coping with it, while mobilizing the academic forces that oppose the boycott.
  • Host: Attila Somfalvi – Ynet commentator
  • Prof. Menachem Ben-Sasson – President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, former Chair of the Association of University Heads
  • Prof. Rivka Carmi - President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, former Chair of the Association of University Heads
  • Jonathan Hunter – MA student at University of Oxford, England
  • Prof. Michael Yudkin –Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, England
  • Prof. Cary Nelson – Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Affiliated Professor, University of Haifa


Daniel Shapiro - Ambassador of the United States of America to the State of Israel

Dr. Dore goldDirector-General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Fighting BDS

Political leaders will each have 8 minutes to respond to three questions dealing with their proposals on how to fight the boycott movement.
  • Host: Yuval Karni, Yedioth Ahronoth journalist
  • Yisrael Katz – Minister of Transportation and Road Safety, Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy, Likud party
  •  – Minister of Justice, HaBayit HaYehudi partyAyelet Shaked
  •  – Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Waters, Likud partyDr. Yuval Steinitz

Pulling the boycott off the stage
Some of the world’s leading artists in the music world have performed in Israel in recent years, including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Sting, Depeche Mode and Rihanna. But other performances were cancelled at the last minute,following heavy pressure from the BDS movement, one of whose leaders is Roger Waters, former soloist of Pink Floyd. For example, the American singer Lauryn Hill, who had planned to perform in Israel in May 2015, cancelled her appearance. Pressure from the BDS movement also led to the cancellation of performances by Israeli artists abroad,and to demands by popular authors that their works not be translated into Hebrew. The producer Shuki Weiss, the songwriter and musician Idan Raichel, and Raz Shechnik, YediothAhronoth’smusic and entertainment reporter, will present what is happening behind the scenes of the cultural boycott and discuss ways to cope with it.
  • Host: Raz Shechnik – Yedioth Ahronoth reporter
  • Yael Abecassis – Israeli actress and film producer. Winner of Golden Screen Award and Israeli Television Academy Award.
  • Shuki Weiss – Israeli Producer, owner of Shuki Weiss Promotion and Production LTD
  • Idan Raichel – musical composer, creator, and producer
Several other events will be take place alongside the discussions in the main hall. These will include workshops and master classes.


Building a Kit workshop: Building a kit to aid in combating the boycott movement on campus

Oren 2 auditorium

Young experts, each in his or her own field, will present practical tools for dealing with the BDS movement from various angles, such as: organizing counter-demonstrations and/or demonstrations in support of invited lecturers, how to recruit more supporters, and how to make best use of the social networks.

Host: Alexandra Lukash, Ynet
  • Eylon Aslan-Levy – Graduate of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, Englans
  • Michael Dixon – Executive Director of StandWithUs in Israel
  • Neil Lazarus – CEO of AwesomeSeminars.com
  • Alon Friedman – CEO of Hillel Israel
  • Alumni Or-Lee Keidar – former Jewish Agency Shlicha and StandWithUs Public Diplomacy Fellowships 
Master class with Yoni Cohen-Idov - former world debating champion: "Israel facing the boycott – how to convince people and win arguments."
Oren 2 auditorium

Yoni Cohen-Idov, former world debating champion and Israel’s representative in many places versus hostile audiences, will demonstrate how to speak, what to say and what not to do, in order to put across our view point convincingly and win the argument about Israel.


Roundtable discussion

Oren 1 auditorium

What image strategy should Israel adopt to confront challenges posed by the boycott and de-legitimization movements? The discussion will focus on paths of action and operative suggestions in the fields of image cultivation, advertisement, and public relations. How can the relevant NGOs be recruited to work alongside the government, and how can the work be coordinated?
The discussion will be summarized in an operative recommendations paper, which will be brought before decision makers in the field, as well as organizations working on related topics.
The discussion will be open to the conference's participants on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be broadcast live on Ynet.
  • host: Eldad Beck,Yedioth Ahronoth journalist
  • Eyal Arad - strategic consultant
  • Arthur Cole -  former ambassador
  • Jonathan Greenblatt - CEO National Director , Anti-Defamation League
  •   Attorney Zvi Hauser -Former Cabinet Secretary at Prime Minister's Office
  •  Stephan Miller- Managing Partner, 202 Strategies 
  • Attorney Maayan Nave - Founder of international public relations firm Now-You, part of the global Worldcom group.
  • Michael Oren - Member of the Knesset for the Kulanu party
  • Brig. Gen. (ret.) Sima Vaknin-Gil - Director-General of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Information
  • Eytan Schwartz – CEO of Tel Aviv Global at Tel Aviv Municipality
  •  Assaf (Asi) Shariv - Amelia Investments CEO and a member of the Board of Directors
  • Lior Weintraub -  Vice President of The Israel Project
  • Dr. Einat Wilf -  is a Senior Fellow with the Jewish People Policy Institute and the Baye Adjunct Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Content development and round table participants were organized in cooperation with The Israel Project. 


"Beating the boycott movement on social media"

Oren 2 auditorium

Leading activists on the social networks present their successful methods for coping with the BDS movement on the social networks.
  • Host: Amit Cotler, Ynet
  • Ido Daniel -  National Program Director, ISCA – Israeli Students Combating Anti-Semitism
  • Evyatar Gat - Social Media Manager
  • Joe Hyams – CEO of HonestReporting
  • Mark Halawa – Kuwaiti born of Palestinian-descent
  • Chen Mazig – Strategic advisor on crisis management
  • Emily Schrader - Director of Social Media, StandWithUs International

The Conference discussions will be moderated by some of Yedioth Ahronoth’s top commentators and columnists, including Ben-Dror Yemini, Sever Plocker, Dr. Yoaz Hendel,Raz Schachnik and Hanoch Daum.
The Conference will take place in the Teddy Auditorium of the International Convention Center in Jerusalem on Monday, March 28, 2016.
Entrance fee: ILS 200
For Yedioth Ahronoth subscribers: a special 50% discount, limited to two participants per subscription
Entrance procedures
Only those who have registeredin advance will be allowed to enter. You must show the registration confirmation sent to you by email, as well as your ID card.
At the registration tables, you will receive a personalized program for following the Conference schedule.
The plenary sessions and panels will be translated simultaneously into Hebrew and English.
The catering service used by the Conference is certified as kosher.
The Conference location is fully accessible.
The International Convention Center in Jerusalem is located at the entrance to the city, opposite Jerusalem’s central bus station and near Sacher Park.
Address: Ha’uma Blvd., Jerusalem