The city-state of Berlin has decided to classify the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement – which promotes the boycott of Israel as a way of promoting the Palestinian cause – an anti-Semitic movement.
Last week, the Berlin State Office for the Protection of the Constitution included a section titled “Special Topic: Antisemitism” in its annual report for 2017. The report based its characterization of anti-Semitism on a definition proposed by an independent group of experts appointed by the Bundestag, the German parliament.
The office said that elements of the BDS movement “question Israel’s right to exist and accuse Israel entirely [as a whole] of racism.”
The report comes a year after Berlin Mayor Michael Müller announced that he intended to take steps to bar the BDS movement from using city funding or buildings for their events.
“BDS activists stand with anti-Semitic signs in front of Berlin businesses [that sell Israeli products],” Müller said. “These are unacceptable practices from the Nazi era. We will do everything in our power to prevent BDS from obtaining halls and funds for its anti-Israel incitement.”
Müller also said he intended to use all legal means necessary to fight the spread of anti-Semitic incitement at demonstrations and in schools.
The anti-BDS decision makes Berlin the third German city, after Frankfurt and Munich, to take a tougher stance on the organization’s activity targeting Israel.
Anti-Semitic attacks in Germany are on the rise. A total of 401 attacks were reported from January to June 2018, 10% more than in the same half-year period in 2017.