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Germany: Students at Cologne University Reject ‘Anti-Semitic’ BDS Movement

Germany: Students at Cologne University Reject ‘Anti-Semitic’ BDS Movement

Student body to bar the BDS movement from holding events on campus.

The student parliament at Germany’s Cologne University passed a resolution banning activities by the anti-Israel Boycott movement, or BDS, from the campus. The organizations and activists linked to BDS “should not be offered a platform at the University of Cologne,” the student representative body said in declaration passed in October 2018.

The student parliament pointed to the resurgence of Jew hatred in Germany. The anti-Semitism was once again “shockingly relevant.” “People wearing Kippah are being attacked in broad daylight. This situation is unacceptable and therefore it must be met with indignation and resistance,” the resolution said. The student body criticized the administration for conferring prestigious professorships to leading ‘BDS figureheads’ such as Noam Chomsky and Judith Butler.

“Modern anti-Semitism is often directed against the State of Israel,” Cologne’s student body said commenting on the resolution. “BDS is a transnational political campaign that wants to isolate the state of Israel economically, culturally and politically, using various antisemitic stereotypes.”

Here is the full text of the resolution titled “Fight BDS Movement: No room for Antisemitism at the University of Cologne”:

The student organizations at the University of Cologne are fighting the anti-Semitic BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel, the Jewish State, with all available means. The membership in BDS [linked] groups, [providing] financial support, or cooperation with BDS functionaries is explicitly barred. They should not be offered a platform at the University of Cologne. The student parliament and the student association (AStA) will work to prevent events that propagate BDS from taking place at the University of Cologne.

We call upon AStA [student association] to stand up to the university [administration] seeking the barring of events affiliated to BDS, or events  that try to de-legitimize the State of Israel by other means. We also urge [AStA] to publicize the reasons behind this resolution.

The student parliament condemns Antisemitism directed against the State of Israel in all its forms. It stands in solidarity with the State of Israel, which also means, that its right to exist and defend itself is beyond question.

We also call upon the senate [student representative body] to take a clear stand against every form of Antisemitism. (Translated by the author)

The initiative comes at a time when anti-Semitism is again rearing its head in Europe. In Germany, the number of anti-Semitic incidents rose by 10 percent in 2018. Around “41 percent of Jews in Germany who have been the victims of antisemitic attacks said the perpetrators were of a Muslim background,” the German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

The situation is equally alarming in neighboring France. Earlier this month, French authorities announced a 74 percent rise in anti-Semitic attacks last year. On Monday, a Jewish cemetery in northeastern France was vandalized and 80 gravestones were defaced with swastikas.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron admitted that the Jew hatred in the country has reached its worst levels since the Nazi invasion seventy years ago. He condemned the “resurgence of Antisemitism that is probably unprecedented since [the second world war].”

The story was broken on Wednesday by Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post’s Europe correspondent and fellow for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). “The University of Cologne students are the latest college students in German-speaking countries to follow student groups in rejecting BDS as an antisemitic campaign,” he noted.

Universities in Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Leipzig, and Mainz all have passed similar resolutions rejecting the boycott of Israel and barring BDS groups from staging events on their campuses.

In 2016, the University of Leipzig became the first German academic institution to condemn BDS as anti-Semitic movement. “BDS movement, the complete boycott of the State of Israel, fits seamlessly with the anti-Semitic campaigns of past centuries, and explicitly with that of the National Socialism; Nazi slogan ‘Don’t Buy From the Jews’ is once again being expressed here,” the Leipzig student council declared. Similar resolutions were passed by the universities in Frankfurt (August 2017), Mainz (May 2018) and Heidelberg (May 2018).

[Cover image via YouTube]


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Free speech is free speech. Do we really want bans on speech that are primarily political as opposed to overtly hate speech? I can see rejecting the condemning the granting of honors to BDS champions, but that is different from banning those same people from giving a talk on campus.

JusticeDelivered | February 22, 2019 at 8:32 am

There is nothing stopping BDS from doing their thing off campus. Considering how BDS promoters operate, they are lucky that being banned from campus is their only problem. Look at how they have been persecuting Jewish students, and also conservatives. Since they feel entitled to drive other speakers off campus, it is appropriate that they suffer the same treatment.

    Freedom of speech in Germany is not the same as the freedom of speech in America. They have laws banning anything Nazi-related, including speech and publications. The German freedom of speech is far more burdened than is the American version. Churches in Germany are State-supported, which requires certain State compliance by them; it is illegal to home-school your child in Germany. The comparisons between their freedoms and those freedoms in America are striking.

    Nowhere in the rest of the entire world, not even Canada or the UK, are the freedoms of speech, of religion, of press, of assembly – nowhere in the world are they as absolute as they are in America.

    Any specific acts by BDS proponents should be addressed on their own terms. The presenting issue here is being able to speak. There should be no ex ante restrictions on a group unless there is a clear track record of speakers from that group advocating violence and hate.