Editorial |

A Win for Deniers of the Occupation

Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Germany's lower house of parliament which passed a motion equating BDS with anti-Semitism.
Germany's lower house of parliament which passed a motion equating BDS with anti-Semitism. Credit: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters
Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial

The decision by the German parliament to condemn the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and to define it as anti-Semitic is a diplomatic achievement for those who deny the occupation and refuse negotiations, chief among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The strategic investment in public diplomacy and nurturing German guilt for the Holocaust paid off; this is the first time that a major European parliament has declared the BDS movement anti-Semitic.

Naturally, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, whose ministry led the battle against the BDS movement, also welcomed the Bundestag’s decision along with Netanyahu. Netanyahu said that he “hopes that this decision will lead to concrete steps, and I call on other countries to adopt similar legislation.” But this is a decision that denies reality and suppresses a nonviolent channel of opposition to the occupation.

The Bundestag members were apparently persuaded that the methods used by the BDS movements are anti-Semitic. For example, stickers that call on consumers not to buy Israeli products generated associations with the Nazi slogan, “Don’t buy from Jews.” Calls to boycott Israel as part of the struggle against the occupation have now been forbidden in Germany because they recall calls to boycott Jewish businesses in Nazi Germany. But the effort to blur the difference between anti-Semitism and opposition to Israeli policy gives legitimacy to extremist anti-Semitic leaders who happen to support Israeli policies.

>> Read More: Israel claims victory after Germany's BDS ban at the expense of minimizing the Holocaust | Opinion ■ Germany, shame on you and your anti-BDS resolution | Opinion

Israel’s diplomatic tricks have once again shown that the Netanyahu government views Israel’s control over the Palestinians as a mere public diplomacy problem, rather than a moral and legal injustice that has been going on for decades with no real attempt to stop it. But even another hundred decisions by other countries to silence critics of Israel will not hide the bitter truth: Israel is using military power to control millions of Palestinians who lack citizenship and are being denied civil rights.

But diplomatic “achievements” like the Bundestag decision are not just a distraction from Israel’s real problems that the Netanyahu government continues to ignore. They also remove a nonviolent Palestinian method of protest, and as a result are likely to cause damage to the future relations between the two peoples and to the security of Israeli citizens. Even those who are not convinced of the purity of the political motivations of the BDS movement must understand that the delegitimization of nonviolent Palestinian protest pushes the Palestinians, who are fighting for their national liberation, toward violence.

Netanyahu and his supporters in Israel and abroad believe that the protest against Israel and the occupation will end or weaken as a result of such laws or regulations. They are mistaken. To stop the protest against the occupation one must stop the occupation, or at least demonstrate a genuine, serious desire to do so.

The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott