Germany designates Israel boycott movement BDS as anti-Semitic

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The proposed resolution is backed by the governing Christian Democratic Union, Christian Social Union and Social Democrats, as well as the opposition Free Democrats and Greens.

The motion says that because the parliament has recognized the importance of combating anti-Semitism, it should also condemn calls to boycott Israel.

Congress's top Republicans are demanding that House Democrats do something dramatic to confront anti-Semitism - and suggested a good start would be to pass a bill countering the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Securing Israel's survival has been a priority for Germany since the defeat of the Nazi dictatorship that committed the Holocaust, in which an estimated six million Jews were murdered.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has previously said that the BDS movement opposes his nation's very existence, welcomed the "important" decision in a statement posted on Twitter.

It urges the German government not to support events organised by BDS or other groups that actively pursue its aims and vowed that parliament wouldn't finance any projects that call for a boycott of Israel or actively support the movement.

"I hope that this decision will bring about concrete steps and I call upon other countries to adopt similar legislation", the statement said.

An open letter signed by 60 Israeli academics criticised the Bundestag motion, saying it formed part of an alarming trend of "labelling supporters of Palestinian human rights as antisemitic".

They had submitted their own motion calling for a total ban of the BDS in Germany.

A majority of the far-left Die Linke party voted against the motion. That motion was defeated.

The Bundestag also voted today on two other anti-BDS resolutions: the first, which was submitted by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, called on the German government to outlaw the BDS altogether; meanwhile the second, submitted by the left-wing party Die Linke, called on the government to condemn "anti-Semitism within" the BDS movement. Its motion was also defeated.

It comes after the group called for artists to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest held in Tel Aviv this week.

With Friday's Bundestag motion, Germany has effectively backed Israel's position that worldwide boycotts are discriminatory and anti-Semitic.

'The campaign's calls to boycott Israeli artists, along with stickers on Israeli goods that are meant to dissuade people from buying them, are also reminiscent of the most bad phase of German history, ' it added.

The Bundestag's decision came amid heightened attention on Israel as it hosts the 2019 Eurovision song contest this weekend.

"It (the motion) has broader European significance given that BDS makes no attempt to build coexistence and peace between Israel and all of its neighbours", he wrote on Twitter.

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