Editor’s Note: The following is a statement from Palästina Spricht – Palestine Speaks. Mondoweiss occasionally publishes press releases and statements from organizations in an effort to draw attention to overlooked issues.
On May 17th, 2019 the German Parliament (Bundestag) has passed a resolution against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) condemning it as anti-Semitic. All parties from across the political spectrum participated in a parliamentary attack on a human-rights based non-violent campaign for equality, freedom and justice in Palestine-Israel. BDS is a global campaign that is supported by millions of people including civil society and human rights organizations, trade unions and others.
This resolution marks the moral failure of the German government to address the real and pressing issue of ongoing Israeli violations against the Palestinian people. The ongoing criminal siege of Gaza, the mass killing of peaceful protesters, the systemic home demolitions, the imprisonment and torture of children, and the ethnic-based policies which are enshrined in more than 65 racist laws, are but a few of the ongoing violations which have been well-documented by legal scholars and notable human rights organizations.
In violation of international conventions and European law, the German parliament had not only turned a blind eye on Israeli crimes but chose to launch an assault on those who oppose these crimes, based on falsehoods which are aimed at shielding Israel from accountability. What message does Germany send when it protects a violent military power that in the past year alone had indiscriminately killed over 450 Palestinians, while at the same time condemning a non-violent movement that merely demands that Israel abides by its obligations under international law?
The Bundestag had ignored the public outcry against the resolution, including a statement signed by more than 60 Jewish and Israeli scholars, among them prominent researchers of anti-Semitism and the History of the Holocaust, who implored on the Bundestag not to falsely conflate BDS with anti-Semitism. This motion has nothing to do with countering anti-Semitism. On the contrary, it harms this struggle, by trivializing the meaning of anti-Semitism and instrumentalizing the Holocaust for narrow political caprices.
We reject the baseless allegations of this resolution. Through its principles and actions, the BDS movement rejects all forms of racism and discrimination, including anti-Semitism. The BDS consistently addresses institutions and individuals complicit with Israeli violations of international law regardless of their identity, faith or political affiliation.
Treating those who demand the respect of international law as people who promote hate speech and racism is unacceptable. Furthermore, any type of conflation between Zionism and Judaism is fundamentally flawed and disregards the century-long Jewish opposition to Zionism, as well as ignoring the numerous Jewish individuals and organizations who either support BDS explicitly or defend its legitimacy.
If German parliamentarians had learned from history, as they claim, they must now actively protect the constitutional right to freedom of expression and conscience. They should act to end Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territory and realize the Palestinian right to self-determination and right of return.
On June 28th, 2019, we will be protesting against the shameful Bundestag resolution and against delegitimizing the BDS movement as a Palestinian non-violent, civil based struggle against Israel’s occupation and apartheid.
Join us in supporting freedom, peace, justice and equality.