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Frankfurt becomes first German city to ban BDS movement

Aug. 25, 2017 5:25 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 27, 2017 12:58 P.M.)
(AFP/File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The city of Frankfurt, Germany, passed a bill on Friday outlawing municipal funding for and the use of public spaces for activities that aim to boycott Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the anti-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement bill was initiated and pushed by Uwe Becker, the deputy mayor and city treasurer of Frankfurt, who has argued that the BDS movement is anti-semitic and “strongly resembles the 'Don't buy from Jews' argumentation of former times of the National Socialists.”

The BDS movement was founded in July 2005 by a swath of Palestinian civil society as a peaceful movement to restore Palestinian rights in accordance with international law through strategies of boycotting Israeli products and cultural institutions, divesting from companies complicit in violations against Palestinians, and implementing state sanctions against the Israeli government.

The movement falls within the traditions of the nonviolent boycott movement against the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Becker reportedly told the Jerusalem Post that the BDS movement “strongly attacks the fundamental basis of the legitimation of the Jewish State” and used anti-zionism as a detour “to spread anti semitism."

"That's why we decided to ban any municipal funding or the renting of rooms for any activities of groups or individuals, who support the anti-semitic BDS movement,” Becker told the Jerusalem Post, adding that “we also instructed our city-owned companies and called upon private landlords to act in the same way."

According to the Jerusalem Post, the anti-BDS bill will now be sent to the city parliament, which is expected to vote in the coming weeks. The website added that the city of Munich is expected to pass a similar anti-BDS measure soon.

As support for the BDS movement has grown, Israel has attempted to tighten the noose on the movement in recent months, most notably by passing the anti-BDS law, which bans foreign individuals who have openly called for a boycott of Israel from entering the country.

Israel’s crackdown on the BDS movement has also seen several Jewish activists being denied entry into Israel, which has caused critics to question the ideological motives of the so-called “Jewish State.”

Furthermore, Israel has routinely condemned the UN for what it sees as their anti-Israel stance, as numerous resolutions have been passed in recent months condemning Israel’s half-century occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and its relentless settlement enterprise that has dismembered the Palestinian territory.

However, Palestinians and activists have long pointed out that nonviolent movements, expressed both in BDS activities and raising awareness on the international stage, are some of the last spaces to challenge Israel’s occupation, as Israeli forces have clamped down on popular movements in the Palestinian territory, leaving many Palestinians with diminished hope for the future.

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