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Germany to condemn BDS movement as 'anti-Semitic'

May 17, 2019 10:44 A.M. (Updated: May 19, 2019 1:15 P.M.)
BERLIN (Ma'an) -- The German Bundestag (parliament) is set to pass a resolution, on Friday, condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) as anti-Semitic and urges the government not to fund groups or activities that question Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself.

The text of the resolution stated that “all-encompassing calls for boycotts in their radical nature lead to the stigmatization of Israeli citizens and citizens of Jewish faith as a whole. This is unacceptable and worthy of the sharpest condemnation.”

It added, “The arguments and methods of the BDS movement are anti-Semitic” and reminiscent of Germany’s Nazi past.

This non-binding resolution is sponsored jointly by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian-Democratic Union and the Social Democrats, which is one of three motions on the BDS movement that will be considered in the German parliament, on Friday.

German lawmakers will also vote on two other resolutions against BDS, proposed by two opposition parties, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the Die Linke.

The Die Linke text is the softest of the three, urging Germany to condemn “anti-Semitism within” the BDS movement, however, it does have a chance of passing.

The upcoming vote has caused public discourse in Germany, with many critics claiming that the proposed resolution is draconian, due to it suppressing pro-Palestinian groups’ freedom of expression.

As a response to the resolution, a 50-member group, made up of Jewish academics from Germany and from Israel, have published a petition opposing it.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a global campaign promoting various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets what the campaign describes as "Israel's obligations under international law," which include its withdrawal from the occupied territories, removal of the separation wall in the occupied West Bank, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens in Israel, and promotion of the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homelands, now known as Israel.

Although the BDS movement has been opposed by many Jews around the world, the movement still gained numerous supporters, including celebrities, such as Roger Waters and Stephen Hawking.

In response to the movement, Israel passed a law in 2017 prohibiting the entry of foreigners who call for boycotts on Israel or its illegal settlements. The law truly banned several Americans who planned to visit Israel, including Ariel Elyse Gold, a Jewish American BDS activist and national co-director of CODEPINK, a women's peace organization.

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