Over 1,500 students fill the United Nations General Assembly for a conference sponsored by the Israeli mission on how best to combat a movement on many U.S. campuses calling for a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.

Taking place in the same hall where 40 years ago 72 nations voted to equate Zionism with racism, Israel's Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon on Tuesday called the conference an "historic" event. Separately, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour dismissed the conference as "no big deal."

The boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement seeks to ostracize Israel by lobbying institutions to sever ties with the Jewish state. Supporters say the boycott is aimed at furthering Palestinian independence. Critics say the campaign is aimed at delegitimizing Israel itself.