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The German Bundestag Votes Against Antisemitism and BDS

Read the Press Release, followed by the Proposition in English and German below.


Bundestag condemns calls for boycotts against Israel

On Friday, 17 May 2019, the Bundestag adopted a joint motion by the CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen entitled "Resolutely opposing the BDS movement - fighting anti-Semitism" (19/10191). The CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP, large parts of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and the Non-attached Member of Parliament Mario Mieruch voted for the motion. Large parts of the left-wing parliamentary group and parts of the Greens voted against. The AfD faction abstained as well as parts of the Left faction and parts of the Green faction.

In a roll-call vote, the Bundestag rejected a motion by the AfD parliamentary group entitled "Condemning the BDS Movement - Protecting the Existence of the State of Israel" (19/9757). 62 MEPs voted for this motion, 431 rejected it, there were two abstentions. A motion by the Left entitled "Reject BDS Movement - Promote Peaceful Solution in the Middle East" (19/10261) was approved only by the applicants. CDU/CSU, SPD, AfD and FDP rejected it, the Greens abstained.

Motion by CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP and Greens

As stated in the motion adopted by the four political groups, the "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" movement (abbreviated BDS) is also calling for a boycott in Germany against Israel, against Israeli goods and services, Israeli artists, scientists and sportspeople. The call for an all-encompassing boycott leads in its radicalism to the branding of Israeli citizens of the Jewish faith as a whole. This was unacceptable and to be condemned sharply.

By accepting the motion, the Bundestag welcomed the fact that numerous communities had already decided to refuse financial support to the BDS movement or groups pursuing the goals of the campaign, as well as the allocation of municipal space. The Bundestag thus resolutely opposes any form of anti-Semitism as it emerges and condemns the BDS campaign and the call for a boycott. Nor should any organizations be financially supported that question Israel's right to exist. Projects that call for boycotts or support the BDS movement should not receive financial support.

Application of the AfD

In its motion, the AfD pointed out that the BDS movement, which wanted to isolate Israel economically, culturally and politically, "had its origins in anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist initiatives by Arab groups that had been active long before the founding of the State of Israel and had been in close and friendly contact with the National Socialist government of Germany between 1933 and 1945. Among other things, the Federal Government should be called upon "to immediately cancel all federal funding for all groups that belong to the BDS movement; this applies in particular to financial support for BDS-related NGOs by party foundations".

In addition to banning the movement in Germany - for example by means of the law on associations - the AfD deputies also advocate "confessing their responsibility for the injustice that Jewish settlers in Palestine have been made responsible for by calls for Arab boycotts in cooperation with and in connection with the rule of National Socialism".

Motion of the Left

"Reject BDS Movement - Promote Peaceful Solution in the Middle East" was the title of the left's motion. "The call for an all-encompassing boycott leads in its radicalism to the branding of Israeli citizens of the Jewish faith. There are statements and actions from the BDS movement that aim to cast doubt on the right of the State of Israel to exist," the appeal states. Calls for boycotts reminiscent of anti-Semitic positions of National Socialism are unacceptable and to be condemned sharply.

With a view to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the MEPs wanted to call on the German government to promote a peaceful solution and to stand up for two independent, democratic and cooperating states on the basis of the previous UN resolutions and the agreements concluded between the two parties. (from/to/17.05.2019)

Read the formal proposal from the Bundestag:

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