Anti-Israel orgs plan to protest 125th anniversary of the first Zionist Congress

Swiss BDS shared that “the route will be discussed with the authorities, any expression of antisemitism is prohibited; only flags of Palestine desired.”

The Opening of the 26th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem in 1964.  (photo credit: MOSHE PRIDAN / GPO)
The Opening of the 26th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem in 1964.
(photo credit: MOSHE PRIDAN / GPO)

BDS Movement-affiliated organizations are planning a number of demonstrations at the end of the month in Basel, Switzerland, opposing a series of events commemorating 125 years since the first Zionist Congress.

The World Zionist Organization will be marking 125 years since the historic first Zionist Congress in Basel on August 28. The events will take place at different sites related to the 1897 congress.

“This commemorative political event, supported by the Basel government and secured by a massive police and military presence, affirms the supremacy of right-wing organizations over the importance and history of Zionism,” the official Swiss BDS Facebook page stated.

“We once again urge the Basel government to withdraw from any involvement in the Zionism celebrations and to end any cooperation with official Israeli institutions and state representatives.”

Swiss BDS

“Along with the WZO, this anniversary is also organized by an organization that plays an important role in illegal settlement building and systematic expropriation of Palestinian land,” the BDS group claimed, but didn’t specify which organization it was referring to.

 BDS Switzerland's post on Facebook regarding their upcoming demonstrations. Posted 9 August, 2022.  (credit: Zvika Klein) BDS Switzerland's post on Facebook regarding their upcoming demonstrations. Posted 9 August, 2022. (credit: Zvika Klein)

“The history of violence of Zionism is denied at the celebration,” the Facebook post said, adding that “the colonial character of the Zionist occupation in Palestine is obscured and, in continuity with the Zionists of the time, the mere existence of Palestinians made their suffering invisible.”

Two major events are planned to take place as a demonstration against the Zionist events in Basel and the existence of Israel. The first event will take place on Saturday evening, where a “panel discussion on Palestine will relate to the critical contributions to the situation in Palestine,” the Swiss BDS site has disclosed.

In addition, a protest will take place on Sunday afternoon against the Zionist Congress events. Swiss BDS shared that “the route will be discussed with the authorities, any expression of antisemitism is prohibited; only flags of Palestine desired.”

Swiss BDS statement 

Citing local news sources, BDS Switzerland has written to its supporters that “in the next few days, a large number of police and military personnel will be deployed in Basel.” The State of Israel, which was established due to Zionism, “was founded in 1947 with the targeted expulsion of the Palestinian population,” it said.

“To this day, Israel is characterized by countless laws and practices that discriminate against the Palestinian population. The expulsion of the Palestinian population from more and more parts of the country continues unabated,” the group wrote.

“The Basel government ignores the criticism, instead boasting of Basel's importance to Zionism and Israel and welcoming Israeli President Isaac Herzog with open arms,” Swiss BDS claimed, concluding that “we once again urge the Basel government to withdraw from any involvement in the Zionism celebrations and to end any cooperation with official Israeli institutions and state representatives.”

According to the Swiss Basler Zeitung German-language newspaper, the local and federal Swiss governments will be spending 5.7 million Swiss francs ($6 million) because of this sensitive event, mainly on security. According to the paper, around 700 soldiers will support the police and the airspace over the city center will be closed.