Protesters call for boycott of Israel [file].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Germany has rejected a definition of anti-Semitism that labels the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) as anti-Semitic.
Responding to a legislative questionnaire released Thursday by leading Green Party MP Volker Beck, the Merkel administration wrote that “there does not exist a general academic definition” of anti-Semitism.
Beck, who heads the German- Israel parliamentary group in the Bundestag, sharply criticized the Merkel administration: “Here the federal government has cowered,” he said. “There is no doubt of the anti-Semitic motivation within the spectrum of the BDS campaign. BDS aims essentially against Jewish Israelis and is therefore anti-Semitic. Whoever aggressively boycotts Israeli goods and people, should also be viewed as anti-Semitic by the federal government.”
The German government said it defined anti-Semitism, as “political, social, racist and religious” hostility toward Jews. The Merkel administration claimed it was not aware that the office of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights took down the modern working definition of anti-Semitism from its website in late 2013.
The European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights’ working definition of contemporary anti-Semitism was initially formulated in 2004 at the first Berlin conference on anti-Semitism during the federal administration of the Social Democrats and Green Party. The working definition largely defined double standards targeting the Jewish state as anti-semitic behavior, including the demonization of Israel.
In response to Beck’s question about the status of Hezbollah and Hamas since the summer of 2014, the federal government said there has been no change. While Hamas is banned in Germany, the Merkel administration has declined to outlaw the entire Hezbollah organization.
Germany deems the military wing of the Hezbollah group a terrorist entity but not its so-called political wing.
According to BfV, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, there are 950 active Hezbollah members in Germany. The Netherlands is the only EU country that has proscribed Hezbollah’s entire organization as a terrorist organization.
In July 2012, operatives from Hezbollah blew up an Israeli tour bus in Bulgaria, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver.
The terrorist act also injured 32 Israelis.
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