Germany’s leading national student associations have joined forces to fight the anti-Israel boycott movement—Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS)—on college campuses. Perhaps the first academic initiative of its kind in Europe, the alliance comprises student groups from across the political spectrum.

The cross-party coalition, initiated by unaffiliated student groups and German Jewish students, has been supported by nationwide student bodies affiliated with the Christian Democrats, the Social Democrats, the Greens, and the libertarian Free Democrats.

A resolution to this effect will be passed at the first German-Israeli Conference in Frankfurt on Sunday, the German newspaper Die Welt reported. Student union representatives from Israel and the country’s envoy have been invited to the event.

Die Welt reported the details of the students’ alliance against the BDS:

A special alliance of student associations affiliated to political parties and other college groups has been forged to condemn the anti-Israel boycott campaign BDS — Boycott, Divestment und Sanctions. The resolution, obtained by Die Welt, will be passed at the first “German-Israeli Students Conference” in Frankfurt this Sunday.

The federal [governing] bodies of the Association of Christian Democratic Students, the Young Socialists in the Social Democratic Party (SPD) student group, the [Libertarian] Liberal student group, the student group of the Green Party, along with the “Free Alliance of the Student Body” (FZS), the Youth Forum of the German Israeli Association (DIG) and the Union of the Jewish Students (JSD) have taken a clear stand against the BDS. “The boycott campaign against Israel is a particularly blatant expression of Antisemitism with relation to Israel that should have no place in the confines of German universities,” the text of the resolution said.

For the student body alliance it is evident that “any cooperation with the BDS, its operatives, supporters, as well as partners has to be ruled out by us.” Furthermore, the student representatives acknowledge Israel’s right to defend itself; they [vowed to] stand against “all enemies of Israel, regardless of weither they come from the political right, political left, from the mainstream society or within the Islamic spectrum.” They also demand boosting academic exchange with Israel and creation of more professorships in Antisemitism studies. “The Jewish life on the campuses must not be threatened; the Jewish students should feel safe on all the colleges campuses,” the [resolution] added. (…)

The “German-Israeli Student Conference” that will pass the resolution on Sunday has been initiated by the Youth Forum of the German-Israeli Association and the Free Alliance of the Student Body (FZS). This is to [facilitate] networking between German student bodies that stand in solidarity with Israel. Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff and the National Union of Israeli Students are expected at the event as guests. [Translation by the author]

The newspaper explained the significance behind the timing for the Frankfurt conference:

The occasion marks the 50th anniversary of a historic event: When Germany’s Jewish Student Association in German (BJSD) invited the first Israeli Ambassador to Germany, Asher Ben-Natan, to speak at the Goethe University Frankfurt on June 9, 1969, the diplomat was shouted down by the members of the Socialist German Student League (SDS) chanting “Zionists Get Out of Germany.” They prevented the lecture this way. [Translation by the author]

The cross-party resolution standing up to the anti-Israel boycott this weekend will be a befitting reply to the Jew-hatred of the present and past.

The students’ conference in Frankfurt comes almost a month after Germany’s parliament passed a resolution condemning the anti-Israel boycott as antisemitic. The bill to cut state funding to organizations supporting BDS was backed by the country’s ruling Christian Democrats, Social Democrats (SPD), and the opposition center-right Free Democrats (FDP) and the Green party.

These developments are in response to the growing anti-Semitism in Germany. Last month, a senior government official warned German Jews against wearing Kippah, or the traditional Jewish skullcap, in public amid sharp rise in violent antisemitic attacks. A recent study showed a 155 percent rise in violent attacks on Jews in Berlin in 2018. The nationwide trends are just as alarming.

An April 2019 assessment by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, BfV, warned of the surging Muslim anti-Semitism in the country. The first report of its kind, uncovered an intricate network of Islamic and Jihadi groups coordinating antisemitic and anti-Israel activities. Besides 11,000 Jihad sympathizers, more than 1,000 Hezbollah and 300 Hamas members freely operate in Germany, official intelligence reports have shown.


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