Through statements issued by both the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and Palestinian civil society groups, and protests at German Representative Offices in Ramallah and Gaza, Palestinians have unanimously condemned the German Parliamentâ€™s May 17 resolution that falsely labeled the Palestinian-led BDS Movement as anti-Semitic.
In aÂ May 19 statement, The Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization called the German Parliamentâ€™s resolution â€śan attack against the Palestinian people and their Â legitimate and inalienable rights.â€ť The PLO Executive Committee said that the BDS movement rejects â€śracism and discrimination,â€ť and called â€śon the German Parliament to withdraw this decision,â€ť and on â€śGerman parties to reject the decision.â€ť They further warned that â€śthe PLOâ€™s Executive Committee will reconsider its relations with German unions, parties and institutions if Germany continues its complicity with the occupation and standing against our peopleâ€™s rights.â€ť
InÂ a tweeted statementÂ on May 17, the day of the Parliamentâ€™s resolution, the BDS Movement described the resolution as â€śbased on outright lies. Itâ€™s not only anti-Palestinian McCarthyism, it is a betrayal of international law, German democracy and the fight against real anti-Jewish racism.â€ť
At a protest with 200 participants on Wednesday, May 22 at the German Representative Office in Israeli-occupied Ramallah, Palestinian civil society groupsÂ delivered a letterÂ signed by representatives of over 200 Palestinian civil society organizations. The civil society letter said that the groups â€ścondemn in the strongest termsâ€ť the Parliamentâ€™s resolution, â€śreject the baseless allegations and fabrications of Â the Bundestag,â€ť and call for the German Parliament to â€śrepeal this anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab resolution.â€ť A Thursday protest at Germanyâ€™s Representative Office in the Gaza Strip, where two million Palestinians live in an open-air prison under Israelâ€™s siege, echoed those same messages.
The civil society letter said that, â€śDenying Palestinians the right to non-violently advocate for freedom, justice and equality is anti-Palestinian and puts the Bundestag at odds with international law, with universal democratic principles and even with the formal position of the European Union.â€ť
Palestinian civil society groups reaffirmed the principles that the Palestinian BDS National Committee had laid out in Â 2017 statementÂ Â entitled â€śRacism and racial discrimination are the antithesis of freedom, justice and equalityâ€ť, Â saying that â€śthe BDS movement rejects all forms of racism and discrimination, including Islamophobia, anti-semitism, sexism, anti-Black racism and homophobia, and is inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement and the US civil rights movement. BDS targets complicity, not identity.â€ť They called on â€śGermany to end all forms of complicity in Israelâ€™s illegal occupation and apartheid by banning Israelâ€™s illegal settlement products and services, ending all military trade and military research with Israel and supporting the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.â€ť
A secondÂ Palestinian civil society letter, issued Thursday, called on â€śthe German Government to refrain from adopting this resolution and passing it into lawâ€ť, saying that doing so â€śwould further threaten the relationship between Palestinian and German civil society.â€ť The letter also called on the German government to impose a military embargo against Israel, and to cooperate to realize the rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
In another statement, the Palestinian Christian group Kairos Palestine said that, â€śChristians in Palestine are saddened and confusedâ€ť by the German Parliamentâ€™s resolution. Kairos explained, â€śthe State of Israel, institutions and companies that are complicit in the denial of Palestiniansâ€™ human rights are the targets of the BDS movement. Everyone has the right to criticize the unjust actions of a state and a corporation. The Palestinian BDS movement does not boycott or campaign against any individual or group simply because they are Israeli.â€ť
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, and continues into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.