The German Bundestag has passed a resolution describing the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign against Israel as anti-Semitic. Parliamentarians said some BDS slogans recalled Nazi propaganda.
Excerpted from The New York Times and Deutsche Welle 5.17.2019
BERLIN — The German Parliament on Friday became the first in the European Union to pass a symbolic resolution that designates the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or B.D.S., movement against Israel as anti-Semitic.
The nonbinding vote said the campaign to boycott Israeli products, along with the movement’s “Don’t Buy” stickers, recalled “the most terrible chapter in German history” and revived memories of the Nazi motto “Don’t buy from Jews.”
“The pattern of argument and methods of the B.D.S. movement are anti-Semitic,” the resolution stated, vowing not to fund any organizations that question Israel’s right to exist, call for a boycott of Israel or actively support B.D.S.
The resolution, which mentioned “growing unease” in the German Jewish community as anti-Semitism has increased, was brought to Parliament by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union party and its Social Democratic coalition partner, as well as the liberal party and the Greens.
Crime statistics published by the German Interior Ministry on Tuesday showed that anti-Semitic crime and hate crime rose by 20 percent last year. The report found that nine in 10 anti-Semitic offenses were committed by people on the far-right.
The Palestinian B.D.S. National Committee said in a statement Friday that it “rejects all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism” and condemned what it called an “anti-Palestinian, McCarthyite and unconstitutional resolution passed by the German Parliament.”
“We call on people of conscience in Germany and beyond to defend the sanctity of universal human rights and freedom of expression by protecting the right to B.D.S.,” the statement read. “The academic and cultural boycott of Israel is strictly institutional and does not target individual Israelis.”
There were other critics, too. Some 60 academics signed an open letter, saying the motion formed part of a worrying trend of “labeling supporters of Palestinian human rights as anti-Semitic.”
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel congratulated Parliament, known as the Bundestag, on its “important decision to recognize B.D.S. as an anti-Semitic movement and that it is forbidden to support it.”
“I particularly appreciate the Bundestag’s call on Germany to stop funding organizations that work against the existence of the State of Israel,” Mr. Netanyahu said, “I hope this decision will lead to concrete action, and I call on other countries to adopt similar legislation.”
Germany’s Jewish organizations welcomed the vote.
Link to Deutsche Welle article
Link to New York Times article