US Jewish leader criticizes Israel boycott drive
US Jewish leader criticizes Israel boycott drive

A top American Israeli leader called today on Western governments to combat the growing international campaign to boycott Israel over its settlement activities, saying the phenomenon is one of the greatest challenges facing Israel.

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told The Associated Press that the drive masks a "politically correct" form of anti-Semitism and urged "zero tolerance" of the boycott.

His comments came just days after warnings by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel could find itself increasingly targeted by a boycott if it fails to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Finance Minister "Yair Lapid", a centrist who supports reaching a deal with the Palestinians, has warned that a failure of the talks could further isolate Israel and hurt every Israeli financially.

Hoenlein said he believes the boycott campaign is dangerous to Israel, noting that those boycotting Israel are undermining prospects of peace and are harming the economic interests of the Palestinians.

Also today, a U.N agency said Israel in 2013 demolished 390 shacks and other structures in the West Bank's strategic Jordan Valley, displacing nearly 600 Palestinians, twice as many as the year before.

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