The city of Bonn, the former capital of the Federal Republic of Germany, banned four Palestinian organizations from participating in its late September cultural festival, because they support the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign targeting the Jewish state.
The Bonn-based General-Anzeiger newspaper reported on Monday that the city defended the decision in a letter, writing that in Bonn there “is no place for the antisemitic BDS movement.”
The Bonn city council passed a resolution in May declaring the BDS campaign antisemitic and anti-Israel. The Bonn mainstream parties represented in the city council – the Christian Democratic Union, Social Democratic Party, Green Party and Free Democratic Party – said that: “Institutions of the city of Bonn shall not provide premises for the BDS campaign nor support events of the BDS campaign or of groups that pursue [its] the objectives.”
As a result of the city excluding the pro-BDS Palestinian organizations from the September 29 cultural festival titled “Diversity,” three of the four NGOs filed a legal suit against the decision. The pro-BDS groups claim the city’s decision violates their free speech rights. Two of the Palestinian organizations which were banned are The German-Palestinian Society and the Regional Group NRW South.
In December, an administrative court ruled that the Munich city council was within its rights to ban BDS organizations from municipal buildings and to deny city funds to the anti-Israel organizations. In April, the city of Bremen in northern Germany canceled a talk with the anti-Israel former pastor and BDS supporter Martin Breidert, who is a member of the German-Palestinian Society involved in the suit against the city of Bonn. Germany’s federal parliament defined BDS as antisemitic in May.