German city promotes boycott-Israel group on its website

The city’s promotion of the pro-BDS group comes in stark contrast to the anti-BDS resolution passed on Sunday by the state’s Green Party at its conference.

By
October 7, 2018 19:18
3 minute read.
Manifestants pro-BDS à Berlin

BDS activists in Berlin. (photo credit: REUTERS)

BERLIN – The German city of Stuttgart, in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg – famous as the headquarters for auto manufacturer Mercedes Benz – advertises on its website information for a group that wages a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the Jewish state.

The city’s promotion of the pro-BDS group Palestine Committee Stuttgart (Palästinakomitee Stuttgart) comes in stark contrast to the anti-BDS resolution passed on Sunday by the state’s Green Party at its conference. The resolution states that “BDS’s goal is a boycott of the Jewish and democratic state of Israel” and follows “the National Socialist slogan ‘Don’t buy from Jews.’”

According to the resolution, “the BDS campaign is to be assessed as antisemitic, hostile to Israel, reactionary and anti-enlightenment.”

The head of the Stuttgart branch of the German-Israel Friendship Society (DIG), Bärbel Illi, informed The Jerusalem Post on Saturday about the city’s website notice of the pro-BDS group.

Many people supported the anti-BDS resolution, including members of DIG, a number of whom are members of the Green Party; party chairman Oliver Hildenbrand; state parliament Green Party faction head Andreas Schwarz; and nearly the entire association of the party’s youth organization.

Dr. Efraim Zuroff, head of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, asked in a telephone interview with the Post on Sunday what Michael Blume, the state’s commissioner to fight antisemitism, is doing about shutting down the Palestine Committee Stuttgart notice on the city’s website and the bank account of the pro-BDS group with the LBBW bank that is jointly owned by Stuttgart and Baden-Württemberg.

“Declarations alone won’t defeat BDS in Germany,” said Zuroff. “They have to be accompanied by specific steps to prevent the use of municipal facilities and social networks which continue to advertise BDS groups and events. Without specifically targeted steps, the office of the commissioner to fight antisemitism will not be able to fulfill its proclaimed goals and targets.”

Zuroff, the organization’s chief Nazi-hunter, said “given the fact that the state parliament categorically rejects BDS, it is incomprehensible that they continue to allow BDS organizations to maintain [bank] accounts in which they have partial ownership. Increasingly, we see a contradiction between the declared intentions of the German government and institutions to fight antisemitism, and their practical application.”

The municipality of Stuttgart’s website outlines a description of the Palestine Committee Stuttgart, including a link to its website and directions to the group. The entry also describes the committee’s work as “solidarity with Palestine and its population and Palestinian refugees.” The description says that the BDS group is against antisemitism.

The Post reported last week that Blume said BDS is antisemitic, adding that the “state parliament commissioned me to act clearly against the BDS movement.” Blume did not immediately respond to a Post query about Zuroff’s comments.

The federal government’s commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism, Dr. Felix Klein, told the Post that, “BDS is decidedly antisemitic in its actions and goals.” Klein has also condemned banks enabling BDS groups.

Multiple Post press queries sent to Stuttgart’s Green Party mayor Fritz Kuhn went unanswered. Numerous requests were also sent to the Green Party governor of Baden-Württemberg, Winifried Kretschmann, who has declined to answer. The city of Stuttgart owns nearly 20% of the Baden-Württemberg bank, and the state controls roughly 25% of the bank that enables the committee to raise funds to boycott the Jewish state.

It appears that Kuhn, Kretschmann and the city are contradicting the language of their party’s newly passed anti-BDS resolution. The resolution states that the Green Party rejects involvement from its groups in Baden-Württemberg with the BDS campaign or working together with BDS-affiliated organizations.

Marcel Roth, from the Green’s youth organization, introduced the anti-BDS resolution at the conference.


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