The Munich Peace Conference has rejected Marian Offman, the city council’s only Jewish member, from being a speaker at the event, allegedly because of his opposition to the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement targeting Israel, sparking accusations of antisemitism against the conference organizers.
According to a Monday report in the Munich-based broadsheet Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), conference organizer Thomas Rödl confirmed that Offman’s stance on Israel is one of the reasons for his exclusion, stating that the Social Democratic politician, who is also a member of Munich’s Jewish community, “dealt aggressively and in a polarizing way with political groups and events that critically assess the policies of the government of Israel.”
Offman told SZ that the fact that the organizers of the event “aggressively disinvite” the only Jewish city council member when it comes to peace issues has something to do with antisemitism, adding that, “For me, Israel is a guarantee of [Jewish] survival, especially today.”
The Peace Conference is slated to take place in February. Munich city council politicians from the Green Party and the Social Democrats, who reject BDS, were not disinvited, raising additional questions about bias against Offman.
In 2017, Munich’s mainstream political parties, including the Christian Democratic Union, the Social Democratic Party and the Green Party passed a law that banned public funds and space for BDS.
The anti-BDS legislation was largely in response to Jerusalem Post exposes on rising antisemitism in the Bavarian capital in 2016.
Rödl, who is also director of the German Peace Society, denied that conference organizers discriminated against Offman because of his Jewishness. “Nothing is further from us than wanting to exclude a certain religious community,” he said.