While touring Tel Aviv to promote business partnerships between the UK and Israel, Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP slammed supporters of Israel boycotts.
“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.”
“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 a bunch of, you know, corduroy-jacketed academics…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. This is a very, very small minority in our country who are calling for this.”
During a meeting with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Johnson revealed plans for a “Tel Aviv in London” festival. The festival, planned by the Israel Embassy, was endorsed by Johnson who expressed his pleasure in seeing “the Embassy of Israel’s ambitions to bring a festival of Israeli culture to London in the summer of 2017. I hope this festival will demonstrate the spirit and diversity of Tel Aviv and showcase both London and Tel Aviv as two tolerant and vibrant cities.”
Visiting the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Mr Johnson said “London is the natural tech partner for Israeli firms looking to expand. With access to a world class talent pool and a booming digital economy, it is no surprise that Israeli tech companies are making London their home and choosing the London Stock Exchange as their international market for expansion.”
Mr Johnson continued on to the Google Campus in Tel Aviv where he met with Israeli start-ups that are considering expansion to London, and appeared with former president Shimon Peres at the Peres Centre for Peace in Jaffa. At the event, Peres announced that he was planning a London-based conference focusing on global innovation.
Mr Johnson will today visit Jerusalem and then go on to the Palestinian Territories in order to promote London-Palestinian business.