Germany’s parliament has passed a motion defining the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as anti-Semitic. It calls on Berlin to cut funding to groups supporting BDS.
The Bundestag voted to adopt the non-binding motion backed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party on Friday, making it the first European parliament to do so.
The FDP motion supported by the CDU, CSU, SPD and Greens says the “arguments and methods of the BDS movement are anti-Semitic,” as it calls for the boycott of Israeli artists and because the BDS ‘don’t buy’ labels put on Israeli goods “recall the most terrible phase of German history,” referring to the Nazi slogan ‘Don’t buy from Jews’.
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The motion urges the German government not to fund or support groups “that question Israel’s right to exist,” although that isn’t what the BDS movement sets out to do.
BDS is an international effort to use non-violence to pressure the state of Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories and give full equality to its Arab-Palestinian citizens. It also calls for the right of return for Palestinian refugees by encouraging a cultural, economic and political boycott. The movement is inspired by the international boycott of apartheid South Africa and was started by Palestinian groups in 2005.
מברך את הבונדסטאג הגרמני על ההחלטה החשובה שמכירה בתנועת החרם על ישראל (BDS) כתנועה אנטישמית ומכריזה שאסור לממנה. בייחוד מעריך את הקריאה של הבונדסטאג שעל גרמניה להפסיק לממן ארגונים שפועלים נגד קיומה של ישראל. מקווה שההחלטה תביא לצעדים ממשיים וקורא למדינות נוספות לאמץ חקיקה דומה
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) May 17, 2019
Israel’s President Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the “important decision” and called on other countries to adopt similar legislation.
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Critics of the Bundestag motion called it draconian, saying it silences Palestinians’ freedom of expression. A group of 50 Israeli academics opposed the “deceitful allegation” that BDS is anti-Semitic in a letter to German politicians,