(photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
The youth organization of the German- Israel Friendship Society in Heidelberg protested on Friday against an anti-Israel conference filled with speakers who allegedly demonize and call for a boycott of the Jewish state.
The pro-Israel group wrote on its Facebook page that the title of “Alliances for the end of the Israeli occupation (BIB)” event “may sound harmless” but those gathering this weekend is a “who’s who of the so-called Israel critics like Rolf Verleger and Annette Groth, who instead of carrying out factual criticism merely demonize Israel.”
The title of the conference is “Future for Palestine and Israel – Does Germany prolong the occupation?”
According to a report in the local Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung
newspaper, 20 pro-Israel demonstrators turned out to protest the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) event. One demonstrator wore a sign stating: “No BDS.Against Antisemitism.”
Victor Márki, a spokesman for the youth organization of the German-Israel Friendship Society in Heidelberg, told the paper, “What bothers us above all else is that people are there [at the conference] who receive a platform and are previously known for their antisemitic statements.
“The manifesto of the BIB depicts the founding of Israel as principally a misfortune for the Palestinians. We want to send a message here that not everybody thinks like this,” said Márki.
Annette Groth, a speaker at the event, is a former MP of the German Left Party and secured – along with other current Left Party politicians Inge Höger, Claudia Haydt and Heike Hänsel – the fourth spot on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s 2014 list of worst outbreaks of antisemitism and anti-Israelism. Groth – an advocate of the BDS movement – fomented loathing of the Jewish state during a talk in the Bundestag, according to the Wiesenthal center.
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Groth accused Israel of poisoning the water delivery system for Gazans, prompting critics to accuse her of invoking the Middle Age antisemitic charge that Jews poisoned the wells of non-Jews.
Albrecht Schröter, the Social Democratic mayor of Jena, was listed as a speaker at the anti-Israel event.
Schröter advocates BDS against Israel and has been engulfed in a series of antisemitism scandals over the years. In May 2017, Reinhard Schramm, the head of the SPD-fraction in the town of Ilmenau in the state of Thuringia and head of the state’s Jewish community, slammed the mayor of Jena in his home state for contributing to antisemitism. The anti-Israeli mayor said Israel was partially responsible for the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis.
The anti-Israel conference, which ran from May 25-27, was held in Kirchheim – a southern district town of the city of Heidelberg in the state of Baden-Württemberg.
Earlier in May, Heidelberg University’s student council voted to classify the BDS campaign targeting Israel as antisemitic and bar university space and funds to its advocates.
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