The mayor of London has lashed out against boycotters of Israel as "lefty academics" with no real influence.

Boris Johnson spoke Monday in Tel Aviv during a visit to lure Israeli tech businesses to London.

Locals are jittery as the anti-Israel campaign known as BDS — an acronym for boycott, divestment and sanctions — appears to be gaining steam. They claim that pro-Palestinian activists are not out to promote peace, but instead aim to delegitimize the country's very existence as a Jewish state.

Johnson said, "I cannot think of anything more foolish" than to boycott "a country that when all is said and done is the only democracy in the region, the only place that has in my view a pluralist open society."

He said the boycotters are "a very small minority."