Minister Erdan called on Germany and other European nations to battle BDS by cutting funding to boycott groups and treating anti-Israel campaigns like “classic anti-Semitism.”
Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Gilad Erdan gave the keynote address on Sunday at Frankfurt’s Deutscher Israelkongress, Europe’s largest pro-Israel conference with over 3,000 attendees.
The speech took place as part of the minister’s visit to Germany and Italy, in which he focused on strengthening the campaign against BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) in Europe.
Germany has launched a campaign against the anti-Israel movement, with three German intelligence agencies declaring BDS anti-Semitic.
In August 2017, Frankfurt became the first German city to pass a bill outlawing municipal funding for the BDS movement’s activities.
In May 2017, Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) passed a resolution in support of Israel, condemning BDS as anti-Semitic.
In December 2016, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party announced that it passed a resolution declaring the anti-Israel BDS movement anti-Semitic.
“[T]oday under the flag of the BDS movement, [people] call to boycott Israeli goods and services [in] the same language in which people were urged not to buy from Jews. [BDS] is nothing [less] than coarse anti-Semitism,” said the CDU statement
In Frankfurt, Erdan stated that “Israel and Germany have a common commitment to fight anti-Semitism and discrimination. Germany is doing it, and Chancellor Merkel and her party have called BDS ‘new anti-Semitism.’”
He called on Germany to use its position to help in this fight.
“Europe needs to fight BDS just as it should be fighting classic anti-Semitism,” he stated.
He noted that while “anti-Semitism demonized the Jews and blamed them for all of Germany’s troubles, this new form of anti-Semitism demonizes the Jewish state and blames it for all the problems in the Middle East.”
BDS Adopts Anti-Semitic Tactics
“In the past anti-Semites boycotted Jewish businesses and threatened those who refused to do so. Today, this new manifestation of anti-Semitism calls for the boycott of the Jewish state and threatens those who refuse to capitulate. The EU would never finance organizations that promote racism, so too it should cease funding organizations that promote boycotts against the State of Israel,” he demanded.
According to 2015 data published by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, European governments funnel a staggering sum of 100-200 million euros annually to anti-Israel organizations operating under the guise of human rights advocacy.
There are some 25 organizations registered in Israel that receive the majority of their funding from foreign governments, including the far-left NGO Adalah that defends Palestinian terrorists in court, and Coalition of Women for Peace and Who Profits that promote the anti-Israel BDS movement.
HaMoked, a legal advocacy group for Palestinian terrorists, received in 2012-2016 over NIS 15,500,000 ($4,080,000) from the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and 11 European governments: Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Holland, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Other European-funded NGOs include Zochrot, which operates to eliminate the Jewish character of the State of Israel by promoting the resettlement of millions of Palestinians in Israel, and Yesh Din, which accuses Israeli soldiers of perpetrating war crimes.
“Germany can lead the way in halting the flow of funds to these organizations,” Erdan said. “German states and cities have taken steps to ensure that public funds are not transferred to BDS initiatives, German banks have closed BDS accounts, and German broadcasters have refused to broadcast Roger Waters’ performances.”
Erdan shared that “every time I now hear his songs on the radio, I turn the station. Anti-Semitism will never be part of our playlist.”