The Czech parliament passed a resolution last Tuesday condemning the Israel boycott movement as antisemitic.

The non-binding resolution calling on the government to stop funding to groups promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Jewish State, was adopted with overwhelming support from the deputies in the country’s Lower House, receiving 120 votes in favor and 20 against.

The draft denounces the BDS movement, as well as “all manifestations of anti-Semitism directed against individuals, religious institutions and organizations, as well as the State of Israel, including the denial of the Holocaust.” The resolution was tabled by the conservative Christian Democrats and received support from other center-right and nationalist parties.

Israel lauded the Czech parliament for condemning the anti-Israel BDS movement. “I welcome the adoption of an important resolution, by the Czech Chamber of Deputies, condemning all forms of Antisemitism,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said. “I wish to thank our Czech friends for this step, which reflects the true friendship between our countries.

News website Times of Israel reported details of the anti-BDS resolution:

The lower house of the Czech parliament on Tuesday passed a resolution condemning all forms of anti-Semitism as well as calls for boycotts of Israel.

The non-binding resolution, which passed the Chamber of Deputies with an overwhelming majority, strongly condemns “all manifestations of anti-Semitism directed against individuals, religious institutions, organizations as well as the State of Israel, including the denial of the Holocaust.”

It further rejects “any questioning of the State of Israel’s right of existence and defense” and “condemns all activities and statements by groups calling for a boycott of the State of Israel, its goods, services or citizens.”

The resolution calls on the government in Prague not to offer any financial support to groups that promote a boycott of Israel and to intensify efforts to prevent anti-Semitism. It also urges the government to provide “greater security” to people and institutions that could become the target of anti-Semitic attacks.

During a brief discussion before the vote, lawmakers stressed the historically close relations between Israel and the Czech Republic.

Jan Bartošek, the head of the Christian Democrats faction in the chamber, who introduced the resolution, said the Czech Foreign Ministry helped formulate the wording of the resolution.

“I am convinced that Israel is our strategic partner and ally in the Middle East,” he said. Citing an “increasing waves of anti-Semitism in Europe,” including the Yom Kippur attack on a synagogue in Halle, Germany, he added that it was “necessary to clearly define ourselves” against this trend.

Given the anti-Israel stance taken by the European Union in recent years, the Czech Republic has come strongly in support of the Jewish State. In 2017, Czech President Miloš Zeman condemned the decision by the EU parliament to host the convicted Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, calling it a “disgrace.” Khaled was involved in the hijacking of a TWA flight in 1969 and a failed attempt take over an El Al flight the following year. The Czech leader has also favored moving the country’s embassy to Jerusalem. “If we betray Israel, we betray ourselves,” President Zeman said during the 2018 visit to Israel.

In December 2017, the Czech Republic joined Hungary, Latvia, Poland, and Romania in refusing to join the United Nations resolution slamming the United States for formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Germany, France, the United Kingdom along with rest of the EU members voted in favor of the measure that declared President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem move “null and void.”

The latest Czech resolution comes months after Germany’s parliament passed a binding legislation cutting government funding to groups linked to the BDS movement, making it the first bill of its kind in Europe. The German Bundestag resolution compared the call given by the BDS movement to the Nazi boycott of Jewish business in the run-up to the Holocaust. “The argumentation patterns and methods used by the BDS movement are antisemitic,” the German draft said.

Parliamentary resolutions of these kinds are important because European governments and the EU are among the biggest sponsors of the BDS movement and anti-Israel activism. “The European Union (EU) is the largest governmental funder for NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict, including some of the most radical and politicized groups.” the research done by the watchdog NGO Monitor shows.

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan: BDS “desensitizing” the West to antisemitism

[Cover image via YouTube]


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