German parliament slams boycott Israel movement as ‘anti-Semitic’

Germany's parliament on Friday condemned the BDS movement that demands a boycott of Israel as anti-Semitic, warning that its actions were reminiscent of the Nazis' campaign against Jews.

German parliament slams boycott Israel movement as 'anti-Semitic'
Photo: Wikipedia/Takver

The Bundestag condemnation came with Israel battling a growing chorus led by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement to shun the Eurovision Song Contest which Tel Aviv will host on Saturday.

US superstar Madonna has signed a contract to perform during the interval of the high-profile event, it was finally announced on Thursday, ending uncertainty after calls for her to boycott the event.

In its rare multi-party resolution, the German lower house said Friday that the campaign run by the BDS was “reminiscent of the most terrifying phase of German history” under Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

“'Don't buy' stickers of the BDS movement on Israeli products remind one of inevitable associations with the Nazi call 'Don't buy from Jews', and other corresponding graffiti on facades and shop windows,” said the non-binding resolution.

“The methods” of the BDS movement “are anti-Semitic,” added the resolution put forward by Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right CDU-CSU bloc, coalition partner Social Democratic Party, plus the liberal FDP and the Greens parties.

With the vote, German MPs pledged to reject any financial support for the boycott movement.

The Bundestag will also refrain from allowing BDS and its partners to host events on its premises.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to Twitter to praise what he termed an “important decision”.

“I salute the Bundestag for the important decision which recognises the BDS as an anti-semitic movement,” Netanyahu said.

He added he was particularly pleased with the decision ruling the group cannot receive state financing as a move to “stop funding organizations that act against Israel's existence.”

The BDS movement describes itself as a Palestinian-led action, and urges the boycott of Israeli goods, services and culture because of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories.

However, for Sebastian Brehm of the CSU, “this is an action that has nothing to do with the criticism of the Israeli government.

Rather it is clearly motivated by anti-Semitism”.

Member comments

  1. I think it’s a shame that you didn’t mention any opposition to this bill, including the public letter signed by over 100 jewish and israeli academics opposing it

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


German leaders express shame at rising antisemitism

German leaders voiced their shame over resurgent anti-Semitism on Friday, one year after a deadly attack targeting Jews in the city of Halle.

German leaders express shame at rising antisemitism
German President President Frank-Walter Steinmeier lays a wrath outside the synagogue in Halle. Photo:Ronny Hartmann / AFP
Two people were killed in the attack on October 9, 2019 during Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, in one of the worst acts of anti-Semitic violence in Germany's post-war history.
A heavily armed man tried to storm the synagogue, but when the door failed to break down he shot dead a female passer-by and a man at a kebab shop instead.
“I feel deep sadness. But even a year later I still feel shame and anger,” President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said at a commemoration to mark a year since the attack.
No one should stand by and watch anti-Semitism “in the underground, in a café, in the schoolyard, on the street, on the internet”, Steinmeier added. “Everyone must stand up when the human dignity of others is violated.” 
At 12.01pm, the time the attacker fired his first shot at the door of the synagogue, all the church bells in Halle rang for two minutes.
In the afternoon, a memorial was unveiled incorporating the old door of the synagogue.
The attacks have sparked soul-searching in Germany, which has placed a huge emphasis on atoning for the murder of six million European Jews by Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime during World War II.
Just this week, a Jewish student was attacked outside a synagogue in Hamburg in a case that police are treating as attempted murder with anti-Semitic intent, condemned by Chancellor Angela Merkel as a “disgrace”.
A neo-Nazi suspect, 28-year-old Stephan Balliet, is currently on trial for the Halle attack and has told the court it was “not a mistake”.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also voiced his regret on Friday at anti-Semitism in Germany.
“One cannot say that the problem has left us — and the fact that we have to protect Jewish institutions in 2020 is actually a state of affairs that is not acceptable,” Maas told the RTL broadcaster.