By offering a podium to BDS’ founder, the European Union “directly undermines its own policy on anti-Semitism,”Jewish organizations told the EU.
By: JNS.org and United with Israel Staff
Jewish groups protested the European Parliament’s invitation of Omar Barghouti, leader and co-founder of the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, to address a conference next week in Brussels.
The conference, titled “The Israeli Settlement in Palestine and the European Union,” to be held on February 28, is organized by Portuguese member of Parliament Ana Gomes, a member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D).
The President of B’nai B’rith Europe Serge Dahan sent a letter to the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani to express his “deepest concern” regarding the invitation made to Barghouti.
In the letter, Dahan asked Tajani to defend the EU’s fundamental values and the security of civil society by not leaving any space for hate speech in the European Parliament.
Dahan stressed that BDS campaigns against Israel “are obstacles to the Middle East peace process, dismantling existing links between Israeli and Palestinian universities, artists and professionals; it harms cultural bonds and working relations that occur every day between Israelis and Palestinian society.”
BDS ‘Opposes Israel’s Very Existence’
The Jewish communities of Portugal and Belgium also protested the invitation to Barghouti.
Yohan Benizri, president of CCOJB, the umbrella group of French-speaking Jewish communities in Belgium, and Gabriel Steinhardt, president of the Jewish Community of Lisbon, wrote of their disapproval in a letter to President Tajani.
Barghouti’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement addresses “not only the disputed territories but opposes the very existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state in its entirety and in any kind of borders,” the communal leaders wrote.
By offering a podium to Barghouti, “the house directly undermines its own policy stance on anti-Semitism,” they added, citing how some BDS activists “consistently engage in practices which are considered anti-Semitic according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition on anti-Semitism.”
The Jewish leaders’ call was co-signed by representatives of the European Jewish Congress (EJC), B’nai B’rith International, the American Jewish Committee’s Transatlantic Institute, ELNET and the European Union of Jewish Students.
Barghouti has made it clear time and again that he rejects a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and will only accept a single state where Palestinians have total sovereignty, all statements and actions that counter any real peace efforts.
Barghouti, who resides in the Israeli city of Acre, has been under house arrest since March 2017 after he was suspected of evading taxes on $700,000 of his income.
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