Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed a boycott campaign by Palestinians that he says is an “international campaign to blacken” Israel.
“We are in the midst of a great struggle being waged against the state of Israel, an international campaign to blacken its name. It is not connected to our actions; it is connected to our very existence. It does not matter what we do; it matters what we symbolize and what we are,” Netanyahu said.”I think that it is important to understand that these things do not stem from the fact that if only we were nicer or a little more generous — we are very generous, we have made many offers, we have made many concessions — that anything would change because this campaign to delegitimize Israel entails something much deeper that is being directed at us and seeks to deny our very right to live here.”
The focus of Netanyahu was a Palestinian attempt to get Israel thrown out of the world’s international soccer federation because of Israeli treatment of Palestinians.
“It is important to understand that these things do not stem from the fact that if only we were a little nicer or a little more generous that anything would change,” the prime minister said, according to a statement released by his office, “because this campaign to delegitimize Israel entails something much deeper that is being directed at us and seeks to deny our very right to live here.”
Netanyahu pointed out that the Palestinians in their push used historically invalid complaints used to smear the Jewish people.
“Now, this is a phenomenon that we have known in the history of our people. What hasn’t been said about the Jewish people? They said that we are the focus of all evil in the world. All of these things are being said about us today as well. It was not true then and it is not true today. This does not have a shred of truth,” Netanyahu said.
Several key leaders in FIFA were furious about the Palestinians’ actions, saying that they were attempting to politicize the world soccer body when the group notoriously has remained neutral in all political matters.