Thursday, June 20, 2019

Recent German anti-boycott motion draws Palestinian anger


By J.J. Rhies - May 22, 2019
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Section: [Main News] [IN PICTURES]
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Palestinians took to the streets of Ramallah on Wednesday 22 May, protesting against the German parliament’s recent motion calling the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement anti-Semitic.

 

Scores of men and women marched from the Ramallah City Hall to the Representative Office of the Federal Republic of Germany several blocks away, chanting in Arabic: “BDS is a freedom,” “Enough, enough, Germany!” and “Germany is aligning with criminals.”

 

Last week, the Bundestag officially declared that BDS “uses anti-Semitic tactics to fulfil its political goals,” Al Jazeera wrote at the time.

 

 

The parliament’s motion, called “Resisting the BDS movement decisively – fighting antisemitism,” ensured that the German government would “not provide premises and facilities under the administration of the Bundestag to organisations that express themselves in anti-Semitic terms or question Israel's right to exist.”

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the motion, expressing hope that it would “lead to concrete action.”

 

“I call on other countries to adopt similar legislation,” he added.

 

 

A 'McCarthyite’ motion

 

The marchers convened in front of the Germany representative’s office, where they chanted for more than an hour.

 

Dozens of protesters held signs, one of which read: “We condemn this anti-Palestinian, McCarthyite and unconstitutional resolution passed by the German parliament. It is a betrayal of international law, German democracy and the fight against real anti-Jewish racism.”

 

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, a physician, activist and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, told Palestine Monitor at the demonstration that BDS is not only against anti-Semitism, but fundamentally incompatible with it.

 

“BDS itself is against anti-Semitism in all its forms. And don’t forget that we, the Palestinians, are Semites, too,” Barghouti said.

 

“This law is very dangerous,” he added, because it “violat[es] basic freedoms, basic democratic rights, which Europe speaks about. The first right is freedom of expression and freedom of choice. BDS is nothing but about freedom of choice.”

 

 

Indeed, BDS “is anchored in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and rejects all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism,” the movement said in a Twitter statement.

 

“BDS targets complicity, not identity,” the tweet added.

 

The Bundestag’s ruling against BDS is part of a bigger trend across the Western world to label all criticisms of Israeli policies as anti-Semitic.

 

The German ruling is unique, however, insofar as it is the only European Union member to officially call the movement anti-Semitic.

 

Ahmoud Zwhare, one of the protesters, said the motion “delegitimises” an effective, nonviolent means for Palestinians to resist Israeli occupation.

 

“So why do they want to withdraw a nonviolent means in the hands of the occupied people?” he asked.

 

“Do the Germans want us to be more extreme, to use violence? They lay the ground for violence by their strategy. ... By being silent now, they [the Germans] are continuing the Nakba of 1948.”

 

 

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