German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany December 12, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
240 Israeli and Jewish academics urged the German government in an open letter to reject a recently passed law defining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement as antisemitic and calling on governmental bodies not to support any organizations that support BDS.
"We all reject the deceitful allegation that BDS as such is anti-Semitic and maintain that boycotts are a legitimate and non-violent tool of resistance," wrote the academics in the letter.
The academics also called "on the German government to maintain its direct and indirect funding of Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organisations that peacefully challenge the Israeli occupation."
Signatories of the letter included 24 academics from the Hebrew University, 24 from Tel Aviv University, 11 from Ben Gurion University, nine from Haifa University, five from the Weizmann Institute of Science and five from the Open University of Israel.
"There is no parallel in the world to this phenomenon of hypocrisy and ungratefulness, in which these professors earn their living at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer yet at the same time work to boycott and slander them," said Matan Peleg, CEO of the Im Tirtzu organization, in response.
The resolution, titled “Resisting the BDS movement decisively – fighting antisemitism,” stated, “The argumentation patterns and methods used by the BDS movement are antisemitic.”
The motion said a BDS campaign calling for Israeli products to be labeled with “Don’t Buy” stickers was reminiscent of the Nazi-era boycott of Jewish businesses, known in German as “Judenboykott,” which used slogans such as: “Don’t buy from Jews.”
"While tremendous amounts of resources are invested in Israel and throughout the world to combat the international BDS movement, these radical professors are undermining these efforts by promoting BDS from within Israel."
"Israeli academia must immediately work to root out this severe phenomenon. The writing is on the wall," Peleg added.
In May, Israeli academics sent a similar open letter to the German government before the vote on the resolution, urging the government to reject the resolution. The letter was signed by academics from the Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, Ben Gurion University and Haifa university.
The signatories worried that delegitimizing BDS, which they stated is against "all forms of racism, including antisemitism," could alienate German-Palestinians who will not be able to "express their sorrow."
Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post Staff and Hagay Hacohen contributed to this report.
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