We have to distinguish between criticism and incitement. The fact that we can bear criticism and successfully explain our positions in a debate within Israeli democracy is our strength.
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Reuven Rivlin participated (Monday, 28 March 2016) in the opening session of the Yedioth Ahronoth/Ynet conference on combating the BDS movement’s campaign against Israel. The President spoke with Dr. Yoaz Hendel about the boycotts, their influence, and the possibilities to act against them.
During the session the President said, "We must distinguish between criticism and delegitimization when we deal with the BDS. Criticism can be given also among friends, but it is important to make sure that it does not turn into the delegitimization of Israel. The claims of the proponents of BDS and the organization’s criticism, is based on a hatred and enmity of Israel, including antisemitic elements with regard to the right of Jews to return to their homeland."
The President further stressed, "Not everyone who criticizes us wants to delegitimize our existence. The fact that we can bear criticism and successfully explain our positions in a debate within Israeli democracy is our strength. We must realize that there is no other way."
President Rivlin added, "We have to distinguish between criticism and incitement. Criticism is something that one is obligated to voice and hear himself. During wars for example we dealt with this and realized that even within ourselves, among brothers there can be opposing views, and still one common goal."
The President went on to discuss the incident last week in Hebron, and the resulting criticism leveled against the IDF Chief of Staff. He said, "Those who allow systematic incitement do not recognize that it has no boundaries. We are in a democratic society but as democratic as it may be – we have red lines which cannot be crossed. The IDF is bound by the Military Justice Act and its rules are clear. It is important for me to stress that I sleep better knowing that Gadi Eizenkot is the IDF Chief of Staff. I trust our army, which is one of the most moral armies in the world and knows how to conduct itself and its actions with reason, wisdom, knowledge, and responsibility. Our army is not an army of mercenaries – it is an army made up of our children who guard our homes. I trust the army and its abilities to examine and draw conclusions."