An international campaign to exert economic pressure on Israel to end its violation of Palestinian rights has not been defeated, one of its founders has said, despite claims made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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“We are winning the global battle for hearts and minds,” said Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian activist who co-founded the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in 2005.

Since its launch, the BDS has aspired to campaigns such as those seen during the anti-apartheid era, when people were called on to boycott goods from South Africa and divest from the country.

Netanyahu’s recent claims that the BDS is in retreat are “laughable”, Barghouti told Al Jazeera.

“This [was] Netanyahu’s desperate attempt to deflect internal condemnation of his failure to stop BDS,” he added.

‘Hits on many fronts’

Addressing Israel’s Knesset State Control Committee meeting in July, Netanyahu said that the BDS was “on the defensive”.

“They are taking hits on many fronts. We have beaten them”, Netanyahu said, according to media reports.

But several Israeli politicians at the meeting criticised Netanyahu’s administration for not doing more to defeat the BDS.

An international campaign to exert economic pressure on Israel to end its violation of Palestinian rights has not been defeated, one of its founders has said, despite claims made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We are winning the global battle for hearts and minds,” said Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian activist who co-founded the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in 2005.

Since its launch, the BDS has aspired to campaigns such as those seen during the anti-apartheid era, when people were called on to boycott goods from South Africa and divest from the country.

Netanyahu’s recent claims that the BDS is in retreat are “laughable”, Barghouti told Al Jazeera.

“This [was] Netanyahu’s desperate attempt to deflect internal condemnation of his failure to stop BDS,” he added.

‘Hits on many fronts’

Addressing Israel’s Knesset State Control Committee meeting in July, Netanyahu said that the BDS was “on the defensive”.

“They are taking hits on many fronts. We have beaten them”, Netanyahu said, according to media reports.

But several Israeli politicians at the meeting criticised Netanyahu’s administration for not doing more to defeat the BDS.

Although the movement continues to gain attention, it is yet to have a significant economic effect on Israel, said Marwan Hanania, a scholar of Middle East history and politics.

BDS should focus strictly on Israeli activities inside the West Bank and Gaza, which could even draw support from left-wing Israelis, Hanania said.

“It is important for activists to broaden their horizons and attempt to be more inclusive,” he said

“Their message has to resonate with people who are not particularly knowledgeable or interested in the Palestinian cause on its own terms.”

It is a view shared by US academic and political theorist Noam Chomsky, who described the BDS as “too broad”, in an interview with Al Jazeera in February.

“I support the aspects of BDS aimed at the occupied territories. Those are the ones that have been successful; they are principled and correct,” Chomsky said, explaining that he opposed actions being taken “against Israel itself”.

That would be like boycotting the US for the policies of its government.

“I do not suggest boycotting Harvard University and my own university, even though the United States is involved in horrific acts … You might as well boycott the United States,” Chomksy said.

Boycotting Israeli businesses and products outside the occupied territories would be ineffective, he added.