German parliament slams boycott Israel movement as 'anti-Semitic'

Angela Merkel. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Berlin, Germany May 17, 2019, 09.31 PM (IST)

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.

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 the 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.

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".

Story highlights

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.