Germany redefines the concept of anti-Semitism

Is criticism of Israel’s politics anti-Semitism? I have criticised the occupation policy on several occasions and do not criticise the Religion which is, as we know, freely chosen and should be. I criticize German politics, American politics, and the state of Saudi Arabia. Whether Christians, Jews, Muslims, or Buddhists, anyone who kills, blocks and resists repression is just a criminal and crime has nothing to do with Religion.

It is obvious that real anti-Semitism tends to increase again – as, unfortunately, other types of racism do. If, however, any political criticism of the occupation policy of the State of Israel is already an expression of anti-Semitism, then the number of anti-Semitic statements is increasing precisely for this reason – and watering down the meaning of the word. Although it was once in old books anti-Semitism is nothing but non-judicial faith. The term has thus been misused and watered down on several occasions.

A month ago, the German Bundestag declared the BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – movement an anti-Semitic movement in a fast-track procedure. 240 Israeli intellectuals protested against this decision with a letter to the German federal government. Has you been able to read about it in the German and Swiss newspapers? The media is making a curve around it and avoiding the issue. Obviously, they fear that even such a call by Jewish and Israeli scholars could be classified as anti-Semitic by the “official” German policy.


3 June 2019

In mid-may, Jewish and Israeli scientists, many of whom are specialized in the areas of anti-Semitism research, Jewish history and the history of the Holocaust, pointed to the alarming and increasing Trend, supporters of Palestinian human rights as anti-Semitic label. This was done in a call to the German Bundestag for several applications filed against the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) measures. Many of us have signed this call.

On 17. On 15 May one of these applications, submitted by the parliamentary groups of CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, was adopted. We reject this decision, which is based on the false accusation that BDS as such is anti-Semitism. We call on the federal government not to follow this decision and to combat anti - Semitism, while respecting and protecting the freedom of expression and association, which are unquestionably attacked.

As stated in the previous declaration, we regard anti-Semitism and all forms of racism and fanaticism as threats to be tackled, and we encourage the German government and the Bundestag to do so. However, the Bundestag resolution does not support this fight. On the contrary, he undermines him.

The opinions on BDS are divergent among the signatories of this call greatly: Some may support BDS, while others reject it for various reasons. We all, however, reject equally the deceptive claim that BDS as such is anti-Semitic, and we affirm that boycotts are a legitimate and non-violent means of resistance. We, including leading anti-Semitism researchers, declare that, according to the content and context of his words and actions, one should be regarded as an anti – Semite-whether it comes from BDS supporters or not.

Unfortunately, the decision ignores the explicit rejection of “all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism” by the BDS movement. The BDS movement is trying to influence the government policy of a state that is responsible for the continued occupation and suppression of the Palestinian people. Such a policy cannot be immune to criticism. In this context, it should also be noted that many Jewish and Israeli individuals and groups either explicitly support or defend the right to BDS. We consider it inappropriate and offensive for German government and parliamentary institutions to stamp them as anti - Semitic.

In addition, the three main objectives of the BDS – the cessation of occupation, the full equality of the Arab citizens of Israel and the right to return of Palestinian refugees – correspond to international law, even though the third objective is undoubtedly worthy of discussion. We are appalled that demands for equal rights and respect for international law are regarded as anti-Semitic.

We come to the conclusion that the increase in anti-Semitism is clearly not the concern that inspired the motion adopted by the Bundestag. On the contrary, this application is driven by the political interests and policies of the most right-wing government of Israel in the history of the country.

For years, the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described any Opposition to its illegal and peace-abiding policy as anti-Semitic. It can not surprise anyone that Netanyahu very much welcomed the decision of the Bundestag. This demonstrates how the fight against anti-Semitism is being used to shield the Israeli government’s policy, which causes serious human rights violations and destroys the chances of peace. We consider it unacceptable and absolutely counterproductive if support for “the right of the Jewish and Democratic state of Israel to exist” and the fight against anti-Semitism actually promotes this policy.

On top of all this, the adopted motion does not distinguish between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He categorically condemns all boycotts of Israeli businesses and goods – including businesses and goods from illegal Israeli settlements. As a result, he would consider a campaign to boycott the products of a company involved in human rights violations in a settlement as anti-Semitic. This represents an unfortunate retreat from the clear and consistent rejection by the German government and the EU of Israel’s settlement policy.

Furthermore, the request for declarations relating to BDS to be protected by freedom of expression, as confirmed by the EU, ignores “the determination to protect the freedom of expression and association in accordance with the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union applicable in the territory of the EU member states, including with regard to BDS actions carried out in this area”. It is precisely because of its history that Germany should be very careful about withdrawing from these basic democratic norms.

Finally, the mixing of BDS and anti-Semitism does not promote the urgent fight against anti-Semitism. The anti-Semitic threat does not emanate from Palestinian human rights activists, but mainly from the extreme right and jihadist groups. The denial of this fact could alienate Muslims and Arabs from the significant fight against anti-Semitism and hinders the emergence of genuine solidarity between Jews, Israelis, Muslims and Arabs in the fight against anti-Semitism and other forms of racism. It also sends a false message to those who oppose the suppression of the Palestinian people by non-violent means.

For all these reasons, we, Jewish and Israeli scientists, reject the proposal of CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP and Alliance 90/the Greens. After the Bundestag resolution, we now call on the federal government not to follow this motion and not to equate BDS with anti-Semitism. On the contrary, the federal government must fulfil its positive responsibility to promote and protect freedom of expression and association.

We also call on the federal government to maintain its direct and indirect financing of Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organisations, which peacefully counter the Israeli occupation, to detect serious violations of international law and to strengthen civil society. These organizations defend the principles and values that are at the heart of liberal democracy and the rule of law in Germany and elsewhere. You need, more than ever, financial and political support.


The goal of the Israel lobby, that criticism of Israel’s policies is considered anti-Semitism and therefore has no place in public debate, has already been achieved almost worldwide. The fact that this goal is highly problematic, because it relativizes the term anti-Semitism and distracts from the original content of the term, hardly seems to bother anyone, at least not in Germany. Anti-Semitism must be combated, not criticism of Israel’s occupation policy.

International show celebrities, especially singers and musicians, are often asked by the BDS side not to perform in Israel. Now an opposition group in Israel has called on Jennifer Lopez to cancel her appearance in Tel Aviv. I will hope she follow the calling.