Benjamin Netanyahu has said boycotters of Israel are practising “anti-Semitism in a new garb”.

Addressing representatives of American Jewish organisations in Jerusalem, he said Israel’s supporters should fight back by emphasising the country’s high-tech achievements and global economic appeal.

In a high-profile call-to-arms, the Israeli prime minister said Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigners sought to bring about “the end of the Jewish state” and urged Israel’s friends to “expose and outflank” them.

On the subject of boycotts, he said: “Some see it as a way to put pressure on Israel to end illegal settlements in the territories occupied in the 1967 war; others favour the creation of a single state that would dismantle Israel.”

He continued: “The most eerie thing, the most disgraceful thing is to have people on the soil of Europe talking about the boycott of Jews. In the past, anti-Semites boycotted Jewish businesses. Today they call for the boycott of the Jewish state, and only the Jewish state.”

As he was speaking, BDS campaigners were celebrating yet another victory, as two international port operators withdrew their names from the bid to construct private ports in Haifa and Ashdod.

“More corporations are ending their business and shying away from bids in Israel,” said Rafeef Ziadah, from the Palestinian BDS. “This will continue until Israel abides by international law and ends its occupation.”