German Parliament labels BDS Israel boycott movement anti-Semitic

28th Jun 2019
German Parliament labels BDS Israel boycott movement anti-Semitic

(Photo: Claudia Gabriela Marques Vieira/Flickr Commons)

Nadine Osman

German lawmakers voted in favour of a motion to label the international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement as an anti-Semitic body on May 17. A motion calling for a total ban of the BDS in the country was defeated in the Bundestag.

“The argumentation patterns and methods used by the BDS movement are anti-Semitic,” read the motion submitted by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, their Social Democrat coalition partners as well as the Greens and Free Democrats.

The motion called on the German Government not to support events organisd by BDS or other groups that actively pursue its aims, and vowed that Parliament wouldn’t finance any projects that call for a boycott of Israel or actively support the movement. It was filed by the country’s three governing parties, along with two mainstream opposition parties, and passed by a large majority.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, welcomed the Bundestag decision in a statement, “I hope that this decision will bring about concrete steps and I call upon other countries to adopt similar legislation.”

Condemning the move, the BDS group said the “unconstitutional resolution” was anti-Palestinian and unhelpful in the fight against “real anti-Jewish racism”.

“BDS targets complicity not identity. The academic and cultural boycott of Israel is strictly institutional and does not target individual Israelis,” the movement said in a statement.

Lawmakers from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party abstained during the symbolic vote. They had submitted their own motion calling for a total ban of the BDS in Germany. That motion was defeated.

A majority of the far-left Die Linke party voted against the motion. The party also submitted its own proposal, which called to oppose the BDS and commit the German Government to work toward a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on UN Security Council resolutions. Its motion was also defeated.

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