Heike Hänsel, DIE LINKE: Rejecting the BDS Movement – Promoting a Peaceful Solution in the Middle East


Dear President! Dear colleagues!

First a sentence addressing the AfD. The President of the Central Council of Jews, Mr. Schuster, said yesterday, when asked about your application, among other things: such false friends are not needed.

The faction The Left in the German Bundestag rejects BDS. We reject the boycott of Israeli scientists and artists in the context of BDS as an unacceptable practice as well as the general boycott of goods from Israel here in Germany. We have submitted a separate application in which we explain this in detail.

The faction The Left is voting against the proposal of the coalition factions, the FDP and the Greens and against the motion of the AfD. A blanket criminalization and sanctioning of BDS supporters, as you put it, is problematic.

I think we would have been a good approach if we during the deliberations would have considered more the worries of the Israeli civil society – whose representatives turned to us, to the members of the German Bundestag – that by your request here, the freedom of the press and expression could actually come under pressure.

Against this background, it has to be regretted that from your application the passage for which SPD and Greens had campaigned – I quote: „The critical handling of Israeli government policy is protected by the freedom of expression, the freedom of press and the freedom of opinion and of course to be allowed in Germany as well as in Israel “ as the newsmagazine „Spiegel“reports, was canceled on the initiative of the FDP.

We also criticize the fact that this topic has not been deliberated with sufficient time in the committees and that the Left Party and our concerns have once again been marginalized from the outset.

Sixty renowned scientists from Israel who have turned to all of us here – initiated by Amos Goldberg, Professor of the History of the Holocaust at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem – among whom are advocates and opponents of BDS, fear that with the request of the coalition factions, the FDP and the Greens, is contributing to the effort – I quote – to „delegitimize“ any discourse on Palestinian rights and any international solidarity with the Palestinians suffering from … „- Israeli -“ occupation and severe discrimination „.

One does not have to share this view; but it would have stood up well to our Parliament here if such reminders from Israeli civil society had been given more weight.

I would like to point out that colleagues of the CDU, including the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, today are warning – I quote -:
„Legitimate criticism of the policy of the Israeli government should not be discredited as supposedly anti-Semitic and … restricted.“

I want us to consider all this. This is necessary if we are to contribute to a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict.


„BDS“ stands for „Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions“ and is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.

Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

BDS is a global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world.

The BDS movement is supported by unions, churches, NGOs and movements representing millions across every continent and there are vibrant BDS campaigns in communities across the world. Progressive Jewish groups play an important role in the movement.

Public figures including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Naomi Klein, Roger Waters and Angela Davis are supporting the BDS Movement.

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