BDS Suppression Attempts in Germany Backfire

VOL. 48

2019

No. 48
P. 86
Commentary
BDS Suppression Attempts in Germany Backfire
ABSTRACT

German organizations are among the last Palestine solidarity groups in Europe to have embraced the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), launched in 2005. Pro-Israel German groups have been quick to respond with aggressive rhetoric equating a BDS-favorable stance with Nazism. The vilification of the movement has had the unintended consequence of inserting BDS into German politics, both at federal and local levels. Select case studies show that the BDS debate in Germany has developed somewhat differently than in other European countries, and that religious discourse is significant in shaping attitudes to Israel and Palestine. While the Palestine solidarity movement tends to single out the “Anti-Germans”—a pro-Israel formation that grew out of the Left after the reunification of Germany—as the major culprit, it is in fact conservative Christian, mostly Evangelical, organizations that are largely responsible for discouraging BDS activism.