Berlin State Office categorizes BDS as antisemitic

The report referred to "a grey area” between “legitimate criticism of Israeli politics to anti-Zionist antisemitism.”

By JTA
September 4, 2018 16:28
A WOMAN holds a ‘Boycott Israel’ sign in front of symbolic cof ns while attending a demonstration in

A WOMAN holds a ‘Boycott Israel’ sign in front of symbolic cof ns while attending a demonstration in 2014 supporting Palestine, in Berlin. (photo credit: STEFFI LOOS /REUTERS)

 
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The Boycott, Divest and Sanctions campaign against Israel has been categorized as antisemitic by the Berlin State Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

In its annual report for 2017, released last week, the office – which monitors anti-democratic activities across the political spectrum in Berlin – describes the BDS campaign as a loosely organized movement, segments of which “question Israel’s right to exist and accuse Israel entirely of racism.”

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The report “refers to a grey area” between “legitimate criticism of Israeli politics to anti-Zionist antisemitism,”  and bases its understanding of antisemitism on the working definition proposed by Independent Expert Group on Antisemitism of the German Bundestag, and adopted last April.

It comes almost exactly a year after Berlin Mayor Michael Müller joined with Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, to announce plans to block the use of city venues and funds for events by groups that support the Israel boycott movement.  Berlin became the third city, after Munich and Frankfurt, to declare plans to stymie such activities.

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