Mayor of London Boris Johnson denounced left-wing activists currently pushing for a boycott of Israel, calling them “foolish” and “just a bunch of, you know, corduroy-jacketed academics.”
Speaking to reporters while on a visit to Tel Aviv Monday, the Conservative politician quickly added, “Not that there’s anything wrong with wearing a corduroy-jacket.”
Boris on the boycott of Israel "The supporters of this so-called boycott are a bunch of corduroy-jacketed lefty academics" Boris Johnson gives his view on the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel during his trip to build economic ties with Tel Aviv.
Posted by Channel 4 News on Monday, November 9, 2015
“I cannot think of anything more foolish than to say you want to have any kind of divestment or sanctions or boycott against a country that, when all is said and done, is the only democracy in the region, is the only place that has, in my view, a pluralist open society,” he said in response to a question from an Israeli reporter about boycott efforts in the United Kingdom.
“Why boycott Israel? And by the way, I think there is some misunderstanding over here about it. The supporters of this so-called boycott are really just a bunch of, you know, corduroy-jacketed academics from lefty — not that there’s anything wrong with wearing a corduroy-jacket, I hasten to say — but they are by and large lefty academics who have no real standing in the matter and, I think, are highly unlikely to be influential on Britain,” Johnson said.
“This is a very, very small minority in our country who are calling for this,” he added.
Last month, some 300 British university academics signed onto a boycott of Israel over the Palestinian issue.
One British group that supports the boycott accused Johnson of “whitewashing Israel’s crimes.”
“According to the U.N., in October alone, Israeli military forces injured over 7,100 Palestinians with teargas, rubber bullets and live ammunition,” the group War on Want said in a statement, citing a questionable statistic.
The group’s statement noticeably did not mention the wave of nearly daily violent Palestinian attacks on Israelis since September, including stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks.
“Instead of whitewashing Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people, Mr. Johnson should be using his trip to urge Israel to abide by international law,” the pro-boycott group said.
Johnson also planned to meet with Palestinian leaders on this trip.
Traveling along with the mayor were representatives of British high-tech firms who discussed future trade and business partnerships with Israeli startups.