British-Arab politician Dr. Wafik Moustafa, Chairman of the British-Arab Network, expressed his opposition to the BDS campaign against Israel. In an interview with the London-based Al-Araby TV, Dr. Moustafa said that the BDS campaign might be accused of fomenting antisemitism and that Arab countries are not being boycotted despite their oppression. He pointed out that Arab MPs serve in the Israeli Knesset and said that the Arabs should strive for peace in the region rather than continue on the path of the 1950s, "which did not get us anywhere." The interview aired on February 15, 2016.
Wafik Moustafa: "A boycott is not necessarily beneficial to either party. In the case of South Africa, when it was ruled by the whites, the British government encouraged the boycott. But the case (of the BDS) is, in my opinion, very different, because some say that it foments antisemitism, and is not beneficial at present. Another thing I must say is that some Arab countries are oppressive and have the death penalty, yet they are not boycotted.
"We must realize that Israel is the most stable country in the Middle East. The Knesset, for example..."
Host: "It's stable?"
Wafik Moustafa: "There are ten or twelve Palestinian Arab members in the Israeli Knesset..."
Host: "But does that mean that it is stable?"
Wafik Moustafa: "I believe that it is, by and large, stable."
Kamel Hawwash: "The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is one of the most active institutions in the boycott against the Zionist entity. This entity has plundered the Palestinian lands and occupied them. It has stolen the land and built illegal settlements on it. My colleague, I'm sad to say, did not mention any of this. He is talking about the situation in the Middle East as if he is a spokesman for the Israeli government. This is very strange."
Wafik Moustafa: "Will all due respect to my colleague, he is using age-old Arab demagoguery when he talks about the so-called 'Zionist entity.' The PLO and Palestinian authorities deal with Israel as a state, which has been recognized as such by the UN and which they themselves recognize. For another thing, there are businessmen in the West Bank and Gaza who have extensive commercial ties within Israel and with Israelis and Jews.
"I was in Israel four weeks ago. I visited East and West Jerusalem, and I realized that there isn't any... Actually, I even went to the Knesset. There are lots of Arabs and Palestinians who work in the Knesset, and even women wearing the hijab..."
Host: "That's only natural, because it is their occupied land..."
Wafik Moustafa: "But the Knesset is defined as the Israeli parliament. What I am trying to say is that we must reach reconciliation and peace in the region, instead of continuing on the path of the 1950s, which did not get us anywhere. As we can see, countries like Syria, which take pride in fighting Israel, are collapsing."