Palestinian Civil Society Calls on Austrian Parliament Not to Equate BDS with Antisemitism (VIDEO)

A pro-BDS mobilization in Austria. (Photo: via Facebook)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Representatives of over 200 Palestinian civil society organizations called on the Parliament of Austria to refrain from passing a resolution that aims at criminalizing advocacy for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

In a letter issued on Thursday last week (January 2), Palestinian civil society coalitions, human rights organizations and labor unions called on Austria’s National Council (Parliament) to reconsider the vote on the resolution, scheduled for later this month.

The Austrian resolution – dubbed “Condemnation of Antisemitism and the BDS Movement” – was unanimously signed by all five parties in Austria National Council on December 11.

The signatories include the country’s far-right Freedom Party and the leftist Social Democratic party.

“The National Council,” the resolution reads, “strongly condemns all forms of antisemitism, including Israel-related antisemitism”.

The motion calls on the Austrian federal government to “strongly condemn the BDS movement, and its goals, in particular, the call for a boycott of Israeli products, companies, artists, scientists or athletes”.

Since all the parties backed the text in December, the resolution is expected to be overwhelmingly approved.

In their opposition to the resolution, Palestinian civil society organizations wrote in their letter that “the fight against antisemitism must not be abused to suppress the fight against other forms of racism and racial discrimination, regardless of the perpetrator”.

“BDS is a global movement for Palestinian human rights that opposes Israel’s war crimes and human rights abuses with nonviolent means similar to the international movement that helped end apartheid in South Africa, it carries out peaceful campaigns for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) vis-a-vis institutions and corporations, Israeli or international, as well as governments, that assist or otherwise enable Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and grant Israel impunity for its flagrant violations of international humanitarian and human rights law”.

The Palestinian letter denounced the resolution, asserting that it is “based on a fraudulent definition of antisemitism that conflates peaceful protest against Israel’s war crimes and human rights abuses with antisemitism”.

Using legal and parliamentary channels, influential pro-Israel lobbies and groups in Europe and North America are succeeding in exacting what Palestinians and their supporters see as a skewed definition of antisemitism to combat any criticism of Israeli occupation and apartheid. 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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