The German Bundestag has passed a motion calling the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel antisemitic, becoming the first European parliament to do so.
The motion, titled “Resist the BDS Movement – Fighting Antisemitism”, was proposed jointly by the two largest parties in the German Federal Parliament – Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democrat Party (SPD) – as well the Green party and the Free Democratic party, which together hold more than three quarters of the seats in the 709-seat chamber.
Passed on Friday, it defines “the arguments, patterns and methods of the BDS movement" as antisemitic, specifically citing the “don’t buy” stickers which BDS supporters put on Israeli products.
Such tactics, the motion said, are “reminiscent of the most horrific phase in German history…arousing associations with the Nazi slogan ‘Don’t buy from Jews’”.
The nonbinding motion calls on the German parliament to “decisively resist” the BDS campaign, and urges both the national and local governments to withhold any support or funding for events, organisations and projects created by the BDS movement.
Bijan Djir-Sarai of the Free Democratic Party, one of the key members of the Bundestag behind the motion, told Bild that the issue was supported by almost the entire Parliament.
“Israel’s right to exist is of central importance to German politics,” he said.
Eva Högl of the SPD told Der Tagesspiegel that “for years, the BDS movement has been calling for a boycott of Israel in Germany and around the world, using antisemitic methods.
“Antisemitism must have no place in Germany.”
A number of Israeli politicians commended the Bundestag for passing the motion, including Yair Lapid of the Blue and White coalition and Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs.
Mr Erdan described it as “a historic day in the fight against the antisemitic BDS campaign.”
He called on “all European parliaments to swiftly adopt similar legislation.”
Mr Lapid called the Bundestag’s decision “important and just” and describing BDS as “the modern manifestation of an ancient hatred.
“Now is the time for the rest of Europe to follow Germany’s lead.”