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A group of 56 Jewish and Israeli academics last week tried to persuade Germany not to pass a motion defining BDS as anti-Semitic.

The motion, “Resist the BDS Movement – Fighting Anti-Semitism,” was sponsored by the Bundestag’s two largest parties – the Christian-Democratic Union and the Social Democrat party – as well as the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party.

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The motion stated that “the German Bundestag is unwavering in its commitment to condemn and combat anti-Semitism in all its forms,” and will oppose “anyone who defames people because of their Jewish identity […] questions the right of the Jewish and democratic state of Israel to exist or Israel’s right to defend itself.”

The “Call to German Parties Not to Equate BDS With Anti-Semitism” was issued by Jewish and Israeli scholars, many of whom research Jewish history and anti-Semitism, who expressed their “concern about the rise in anti-Semitism around the world, including in Germany.”

Nevertheless, the same group of Jews and Israelis said they “wish to sound alarm about a parallel trend: the growing tendency of labeling supporters of Palestinian human rights as anti-Semitic.”

According to the signatories, “BDS is essentially a non-violent movement, which protests serious human rights violations. The BDS movement does not advocate for a particular political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, it campaigns for the implementation of international law, often with regard to Israel’s occupation and settlements.”

This notion of a peaceful BDS is belied by many sources, including NGO Monitor, which argued that “contrary to NGO claims that they are engaging in ‘legitimate criticism’ of Israel, the NGO rhetoric, publications, and activities often violate accepted standards. The rhetoric used in BDS campaigns explicitly violates a number of precepts of the United States State Department Definition of Anti-Semitism. In particular, BDS activists denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination; using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis; and drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

According to the Holocaust Remembrance Alliance “working definition of anti-Semitism,” one of the definitions is using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis; and drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

Here are but three pro-BDS NGOs involved in anti-Semitism (source: NGO Monitor):

BADIL, which focuses on promoting the so-called “right of return,” and accuses Israel of “slow genocide” and regularly issues posters and caricatures demonizing Israel, some of which are virulently anti-Semitic. BADIL uses demonizing language such as “Israel’s colonial apartheid regime,” and “systematic ethnic cleansing.” In 2015, BADIL published a cartoon depicting a tsunami of keys rising up and washing over what is supposed to be the “negotiation table” and two people, one of whom is wearing a kippah with a Jewish star on it. Another 2015 cartoon shows a clenched fist rising up through a map of the State of Israel with the caption reading “Return is our Right and our Destiny.”

MIFTAH, which utilizes anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric including “resistance fighters” to describe terror groups, and accuses Israel of perpetrating “massacres,” “cultural genocide,” “war crimes,” and “apartheid.” In March 2013, MIFTAH published an article written by Nawaf al-Zaru that repeated the anti-Semitic blood libel that Jews use Christian blood to bake Passover matzah.

ELECTRONIC INTIFADA is one of the most virulent platforms for promoting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic campaigns. Co-founder and executive director Ali Abunimah claims Zionism “is one of the worst forms of anti-Semitism in existence today,” that it “dehumanizes its victims, denies their history, and has a cult-like worship of ethnoracial purity.” He also wrote: “That is something Zionism shares with anti-Semitism, a disdain for actual Jewish culture and life as it existed.” Holocaust references appear frequently in Abunimah’s comments. He also calls Gaza a “ghetto for surplus non-Jews,” compares the Israeli press to Der Sturmer, and claims “supporting Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit.” He calls Gaza a “concentration camp” and repeated a claim that IDF statements are the words “of a Nazi.”

Matan Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu, issued a statement saying “there is no parallel in the world to this phenomenon of hypocrisy and ungratefulness, in which these professors earn their living at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer yet at the same time work to boycott and slander them.”

Im Tirtzu recently launched a website listing dozens of Israeli professors who are employed at publicly funded universities yet engage in anti-Israel activity (See: New Website Outs 85 Israeli Anti-Israel Professors), stressed the harm caused to Israel by these professors.

Here is the complete list of signatories who tried to keep the German parliament from taking its strong anti-BDS position:

Prof. Louise Bethlehem, Dept. of English and Cultural Studies, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Prof. David Blanc, Dept. of Mathematics, University of Haifa
Prof. Daniel D. Blatman, Head, Avraham Harman Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry, The Max and Rita Haber Chair in Contemporary Jewry and Holocaust Studies, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Dr. Paola Canarutto, freie Wissenschaftlerin
Prof. (emerita) Jane Caplan, Modern European History, University of Oxford
Prof. Stephen Clingman, Dept. of English, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Prof. Alon Confino, Pen Tishkach Chair of Holocaust Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Prof. (emerita) Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Dept. of Social Science, University Paris Diderot
Prof. (emerita) Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Dept. of Comparative Literature, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Prof. (emeritus) Tommy Dreyfus, Pädagogische Hochschule, Tel Aviv University
Prof. David Enoch, Faculty of Law & Philosophy, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Dr. Yuval Eylon, Dept. of History, Philosophy and Jewish Studies, The Open University of Israel
Prof. (emeritus) Gideon Freudenthal, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Elizabeth Freund (emerita), Dept. of English Literature, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Prof. (emeritus) Chaim Gans, The Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Amos Goldberg, Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Prof. Oded Goldreich, Weizmann Institute of Science
Prof. Neve Gordon, Dept. of Politics and Government, Ben Gurion University
Prof. Rebecca Gould, School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, University of Birmingham
Dr. Erella Grassiani, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam
Prof. Lev Grinberg, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben Gurion University
Prof. David Harel, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Vice President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Dr. Shir Hever, Politikwissenschaften, Freie Universät Berlin
Professor (emerita) Susan Himmelweit, Faculty of Social Science, Open University Milton Keynes
Prof. Eva Illouz, Dept. of Social Science and Anthropology, Hebrew University Jerusalem, The European Centre for Sociology and Political Science, Paris
Dr. Itamar Kastner, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Dr. Brian Klug, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford, Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton
Prof. (emerita) Vered Kraus, Dept. of Social Science, University of Haifa
Prof. (emeritus) Micah Leshem, Dept. of Psychology, University of Haifa
Dr. Mark Levene, Parkes Centre for Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton
Prof. Joseph Levine, Dept. of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Revital Madar, Dept. of Cultural Studies, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Rela Mazali, freie Wissenschaftlerin und Schriftstellerin
Dr. Dana Mills, Oxford Brookes University
Dr. Sheryl Nestel, Independent Scholar, Toronto
Prof. Isaac (Yanni) Nevo, Dept. of Philosophy, Ben-Gurion University
Prof. Kobi Peterzil, Dept. of Mathematics, University of Haifa
Dr. Noa Roei, Dept. of Comparative Literature and Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam
Na’ama Rokem, Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature & Comparative Literature, University of Chicago
Prof. Jacqueline Rose, Co-director Birkbeck Institute, University of London
Prof. Michael Rothberg, 1939 Society Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies, University of California
Dr. E. Natalie Rothman, Dept. of History and Cultural Studies, University of Toronto Scarborough
Prof. Catherine Rottenberg, Foreign Literature and Linguistics, Ben Gurion University
Dr. Ilan Saban, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa
Dr. Hannah Safran, Feminist Research Center, Haifa
Prof. Lynne Segal, Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck Institute, University of London
Dr. Itamar Shachar, Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam
Nava EtShalom, poet and writer, PhD candidate, University of Pennsylvania
Prof. (emerita) Alice Shalvi, Hebrew University Jerusalem/Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Dr. Dmitry Shumsky, Head of the Cherrick Centre for the Study of Zionism, the Yishuv and the State of Israel, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Dr. Itay Snir, The Open University of Israel and Minerva Humanities Centre/Tel-Aviv University
Prof. Tamir Sorek, Social and Jewish Studies, University of Florida
Dr. Anya Topolski, Associate Professor Ethics and Political Philosophy, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Dr. Yair Wallach, Head of the Centre for Jewish Studies, SOAS, University of London
Prof. Niza Yanay, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben Gurion University
Prof. (emeritus) Moshe Zuckermann, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University

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