German Catholic NGO cancels event with BDS group

"Antisemitism has no place for us, of course, and Caritas does not give it any room in a double sense."

September 22, 2019 23:08
1 minute read.
bds boycott

Activists from the BDS movement against Israel [File]. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Munich branch of the Catholic social service organization Caritas pulled the plug on an event slated for Monday in one of its rooms with the pro-BDS Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue Group (JPDG) due to alleged antisemitism.

The Munich-based Abendzeitung paper reported on Thursday that the head of the city’s Jewish community, Charlotte Knobloch, protested in a letter to Caritas against the slated lecture by JPDG.

JPDG supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that targets Israel.

According to the paper, Knobloch, a Holocaust survivor, wrote that Caritas’s decision to offer JPDG a room “in the best case scenario, I have to understand is dangerous carelessness.” She said Caritas was understood up until now as a “reliable partner in the fight against antisemitism.” She urged Caritas to reconsider its decision to host JDPG.

The German parliament classified BDS as antisemitic in May. The City of Munich passed legislation proscribing BDS as antisemitic and banning providing pro-BDS groups with space or subsidies in 2017.

Caritas is a confederation of 165 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations.

The Abendzeitung wrote that Caritas appreciated the tip from Knobloch about the BDS group. A spokeswoman told the paper that Caritas had been misled by JPDG and apologized for the mistake.

“Antisemitism has no place for us, of course, and Caritas does not give it any room in a double sense,” the spokeswoman said.

In November 2015, The Jerusalem Post exposed outbreaks of BDS in Munich – the capital of the Bavarian state. The Post revelations led to German-language media coverage and a crackdown on BDS activity in the city by the mayor and city council.

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