For the first time, a bank has explicitly stated that it canceled an account over the owners’ links to boycotts on Israel.
A German bank has closed the account of a group affiliated with the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement, which has “the goal of destabilizing the State of Israel and is not compatible with the principles of the bank,” The Jerusalem Post reported Monday.
“The positions of the BDS campaign, in content and style, go way beyond the framework of ordinary democratic discourse,” the Bank für Sozialwirtschaft (Bank for Social Economy) said in a statement. It informed the group Jewish Voice for a Just Peace (JVJP) in the Middle East that its account was shut down on December 1.
The bank — the first to explicitly say that it canceled an account over its links to BDS — based its decision on the judgment of Dr. Samuel Salzborn, a leading German expert on the study of contemporary anti-Semitism. Salzborn warned that the BDS campaign’s “intention is anti-Semitic,” rather than merely being critical of Israel.
The bank also cited a paper by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, which noted that “BDS wants to get the ball rolling, with the final goal to pull the rug out from under from the state of Israel.”
Banks in Europe have previously shut down BDS-linked accounts, but have cited technical reasons in doing so.
JVJP rejected this characterization of its goals. “The claims of the bank leadership that the BDS campaign is directed against Israel’s right to exist is something we flatly and vehemently reject as propagandistic and inaccurate,” the group said in a statement last Wednesday. BDS “is not aimed at the internationally recognized State of Israel, but is unmistakably directed toward the occupation, settlement and exclusion policies of the Israeli government.”
However, critics of BDS campaign have accused it of being discriminatory in tone and intention, and pointed out that many of its leaders have publicly affirmed that they seek Israel’s destruction.
Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the movement and an opponent of the two-state solution, said in 2014 that Palestinians have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance.” Leading activist As’ad Abu Khalil acknowledged in 2012 that “the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel.”
The Christian Democratic Union, the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, passed a resolution last week expressing its “disapproval and rejection of every form of BDS activity and condemns these activities as anti-Semitic.” In August, the student body at one of Europe’s oldest universities similarly denounced “the anti-Semitic BDS campaign,” saying that it endangers academic freedom and recalls the Nazi-era slogan, “Don’t buy from Jews.”
By: The Tower and United with Israel Staff
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