“I call on Allied Irish Banks to join the many institutions, leaders and citizens who are uniting to reject the discriminatory and antisemitic boycott movement against Israel, including by disassociating itself from any BDS-linked accounts.”
— Gilad Erdan, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister
The Israeli government is pushing for the closure of scores of accounts provided by the Dublin-based Allied Irish Banks that fund the promotion of anti-Israel boycotts.
AIB, one of the Big Four commercial banks in Ireland, hosts Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign accounts, an organization based in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland that wages an aggressive BDS campaign targeting the Jewish state.
In January, the Israeli government included the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in a list of 20 BDS organizations whose representatives are not permitted to enter the Jewish state.
Participants were briefed about “effective methods used to pass legislation in 24 states across the US, France, Germany and elsewhere” and “gained tools and best-practices, while streamlining their tactics against efforts to ostracize the Jewish state.”
The Israeli government yesterday held an international legal conference against the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Quds Press reported.
The news site reported Israeli media saying that the Ministry of Strategic Affairs organised the conference in cooperation with the Israeli Bar Association and the International Judicial Institute.
Israeli media said that 200 legal experts from 24 countries were invited to the conference to develop strategies “to contain the growing influence of the movement.”
According to Quds Press, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and head of the opposition Isaac Herzog were in attendance.
As faith leaders, we have long used the nonviolent instruments of boycott and divestment in our work for justice and peace. These economic measures have proven to be powerful tools for social change. . . . Anti-BDS legislation is an extremely grave attack on free speech that threatens the use of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions for other peace and human justice causes.
We are members of faith communities in the United States whose congregations or denominations have adopted resolutions to boycott products made in Israeli settlements—built on occupied Palestinian lands in violation of international law and longstanding official U.S. policy—or have implemented a screen to divest from companies that profit from the 50-year-old Israeli military occupation of Palestine. These resolutions affirm our commitment to a just peace for all Palestinians and Israelis.
We are alarmed by legislation recently passed in a number of states penalizing participation in the nonviolent, grassroots Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights and by similar legislation that is proposed in the U.S. Congress. In August, the Kansas State Department of Education used the state’s anti-BDS legislation to bar a member of the Mennonite church, a math teacher and curriculum coach in Wichita, Kansas, from participating in a program to train other math teachers.
This is a dangerous precedent that threatens to extend repression of Palestinians living under Israeli military rule by muzzling the right of Americans to free speech.
Accordingly, the ACLU has filed suit against the Kansas Commissioner of Education in defense of this school teacher and her right to boycott.
In violation of her First Amendment right to free speech, Ms. Koontz was denied a professional opportunity based on her conscientious determination to preserve her right to boycott companies that profit from violent and repressive business endeavors.
Whenever we choose to work for peace and justice in the Middle East, we know this choice can be costly.
In August, Ms. Esther Koontz, a trainer of math teachers in Wichita, Kansas, and a member of the Mennonite Church USA, learned that she would not be allowed to participate in a professional program for which she was qualified because she would be required to sign a statement affirming she is not presently engaged in a boycott of Israel. When Ms. Koontz refused to sign that statement, she was informed she would be ineligible to receive payment as a state-contracted teacher trainer. Continue reading “I stand with Esther”
“[The BDS movement] strongly attacks the fundamental basis of the legitimation of the Jewish State [and used anti-zionism as a detour] to spread anti semitism. That’s why we decided to ban any municipal funding or the renting of rooms for any activities of groups or individuals, who support the anti-semitic BDS movement. We also instructed our city-owned companies and called upon private landlords to act in the same way.”
— Uwe Becker, deputy mayor and city treasurer of Frankfurt
The city of Frankfurt, Germany, passed a bill on Friday outlawing municipal funding for and the use of public spaces for activities that aim to boycott Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the anti-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement bill was initiated and pushed by Uwe Becker, the deputy mayor and city treasurer of Frankfurt, who has argued that the BDS movement is anti-semitic and “strongly resembles the ‘Don’t buy from Jews’ argumentation of former times of the National Socialists.”
The BDS movement was founded in July 2005 by a swath of Palestinian civil society as a peaceful movement to restore Palestinian rights in accordance with international law through strategies of boycotting Israeli products and cultural institutions, divesting from companies complicit in violations against Palestinians, and implementing state sanctions against the Israeli government.
The movement falls within the traditions of the nonviolent boycott movement against the apartheid regime in South Africa.