Germany designates BDS Israel boycott movement as anti-Semitic

By Joseph Nasr and Riham Alkousaa BERLIN (Reuters) - The German parliament voted on Friday to condemn as anti-Semitic a movement that calls for economic pressure on Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian land, grant Arab citizens equal rights and recognize the right of return of Palestinian refugees. A majority of lawmakers in the Bundestag voted in favour of a motion to label the international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement as an entity that uses anti-Semitic tactics to fulfill its political goals.

Reuters May 18, 2019 00:06:56 IST
Germany designates BDS Israel boycott movement as anti-Semitic

Germany designates BDS Israel boycott movement as antiSemitic

By Joseph Nasr and Riham Alkousaa

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German parliament voted on Friday to condemn as anti-Semitic a movement that calls for economic pressure on Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian land, grant Arab citizens equal rights and recognize the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

A majority of lawmakers in the Bundestag voted in favour of a motion to label the international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement as an entity that uses anti-Semitic tactics to fulfill its political goals.

"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.

Securing Israel's survival has been a priority for Germany since the defeat of the Nazi dictatorship that committed the Holocaust in which some six million Jews were murdered.

Israel Katz, Israel's acting foreign minister, welcomed the Bundestag decision, saying on Twitter: "The German parliament ruled that it is an anti-Semitic movement that promotes illegal boycotts against Israel. This is an important step, and we hope that other countries in Europe will go in the same direction."

The BDS condemned the motion as anti-Palestinian.

"The German establishment is entrenching its complicity in Israel's crimes of military occupation, ethnic cleansing, siege and apartheid, while desperately trying to shield it from accountability to international law," it said on Twitter.

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 BSD in Germany. That motion was defeated.

A majority of the far-left Die Linke party had 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 U.N. Security Council resolutions. The motion was also defeated.

The latest battle between the BDS and the Israeli government has been over the Eurovision Song Contest final, which takes place in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

In the run-up to the event, the BDS has called on artists, music fans and broadcasters to avoid the event, arguing it amounts to "whitewashing" Israel's policies toward Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

With Friday's Bundestag motion, Germany has effectively backed Israel's position that international boycotts are discriminatory and anti-Semitic.

The motion said a BDS campaign calling for Israeli products to be labeled with "Don't Buy" stickers was reminiscent of the Nazi-era boycott of Jewish businesses, known in German as "Judenboykott", which used slogans such as: "Don't buy from Jews."

Israel's ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, welcomed the Bundestag decision.

"It (the motion) has broader European significance given that BDS makes no attempt to build coexistence and peace between Israel and all of its neighbors," he wrote on Twitter.

(Additional reporting by Stephen Farrell in Jerusalem; Editing by Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.