Main building of University of Cologne, by architect Adolf Abel, 1934.
(photo credit: TIM 'AVATAR' BARTEL/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
The University of Cologne’s student parliament passed a resolution against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign targeting the Jewish state because BDS is an antisemitic movement that seeks to abolish Israel.
According to the resolution that was voted on in October 2018, the student bodies “are fighting the antisemitic BDS campaign against the Jewish state of Israel by all available means.” The students wrote BDS groups “should not be offered a platform at the University of Cologne. The student parliament and the AStA are working to prevent BDS propagating events at the University of Cologne.”
AStA stands for the General Students Committee, a student representative organization on German universities.
The University of Cologne, located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, has a student body of nearly 49,000.
The student parliament resolution wrote “AStA is invited to advocate the university for a ban on university-connected events that are related to the BDS, or otherwise attempt to delegitimize the State of Israel.”
“The student parliament also condemns antisemitism in relation to the State of Israel in any form,” the text added. “It sees itself as being in solidarity with the State of Israel, which also means that its right to existence and self-defense is beyond question.”
In the two-page resolution, the students outlined the expressions of contemporary antisemitism. According to the resolution, “Modern antisemitism is often directed against the State of Israel. There are several attempts to delegitimize the existence of the State of Israel from the fact that the founding of the state has already been ‘unlawful.’ And followed by the statement that Israel is the authoritarian and racist state par excellence, to assertions denigrating Israel as an ‘apartheid state.’”
“Israel is the only functioning democracy in the Middle East,” the students wrote, adding “Also disregarded by such self-styled ‘critics’ [of Israel] is that Israel is the only state whose existence is openly threatened by threats of annihilation by other countries in the Middle East.
“When it comes to Israel, double standards are often on the agenda. In many political, social and especially media contexts, the State of Israel is often judged or treated differently than other states.”
“BDS is a transnational political campaign that wants to isolate the state of Israel economically, culturally and politically, using various antisemitic stereotypes,” according to the resolution. “The implementation of these campaign goals – as well as the related requirement that Israel should allow all Palestinians, not only those who left the country, but also all their descendants to ‘return’ – would be the de facto liquidation of the State of Israel.”
The University of Cologne students are the latest college students in German-speaking countries to follow student groups in rejecting BDS as an antisemitic campaign. The University of Vienna in Austria, Goethe University in Frankfurt, Leipzig University and Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz all have rejected BDS since 2016.
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