Germany votes to define BDS as anti-Semitic

May 18, 2019 in News by Slad

 

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Source: www.middleeastmonitor.com

Germany today voted to define the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as anti-Semitic, becoming the first major European parliament to do so.

The German parliament – known as the Bundestag – this afternoon voted to accept a motion defining BDS as anti-Semitic. The motion, “Resist the BDS Movement – Fighting Antisemitism,” was sponsored by the Bundestag’s two largest parties – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian-Democratic Union and the Social Democrat party – as well as the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party.

The text of the motion stated that “the German Bundestag is unwavering in its commitment to condemn and combat anti-Semitism in all its forms,” stressing it will oppose “anyone who defames people because of their Jewish identity […] questions the right of the Jewish and democratic state of Israel to exist or Israel’s right to defend itself.”

On the BDS movement specifically, the motion claimed that “the arguments, patterns and methods of the BDS movement are anti-Semitic”. As evidence of this, the motion argued that BDS’ “don’t buy” stickers – which aim to identify products of Israeli origin so consumers can refrain from purchasing them – “arouse associations [with] the Nazi slogan ‘Don’t buy from Jews’” and are “reminiscent of the most horrific phase in German history”.

Although the motion is non-binding, its significance both within Germany and across Europe is likely to be profound.

In practical terms, German newspaper Algemeiner explains that today’s passing of the motion will “prevent ‘organizations which express themselves in an antisemitic manner, or question the right of Israel to exist’ from using ‘premises and facilities under Bundestag administration’”. It will also require the Bundestag “not to financially promote organizations that do not respect Israel’s right to exist”.

On a European level, the motion could serve as a precedent for other parliaments to label BDS anti-Semitic. Several European countries have sought to crack down on the movement in recent years, most notably Spain which, at the behest of Israel, has dragged a number of municipal councils to court for announcing that they would support a boycott.

The move could also pave the way for other groups to be labelled anti-Semitic for their criticism of Israel. By arguing that “the state of Israel can also be understood as a Jewish collective,” the passing of the motion will further narrow the space for criticism of Israel’s government and its policies by conflating this with anti-Semitic rhetoric.

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