Offene Briefe

Open letter from the Netherlands to BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN

This open letter is endorsed by BDS Nederland and Article 1 Collective

Allard de Rooi (Netherlands) to the leadership of the Green Party Germany (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN)

Subject: Your statement on BDS

Dear fellow-Greens,

I am writing you as a Dutch member of the BDS Movement. The reason for my e-mail is a recent article in the Jerusalem Post, in which Eva Muszar is commenting on behalf of the Green Party. She claims the Greens are against BDS. She also claims BDS is anti-Semitic.

Here’s the quote: Eva Muszar, a spokeswoman for the Green Party in Stuttgart, told the Post that “we Greens reject a boycott of Israel as well as BDS. The BDS campaign aggressively calls for a boycott of Israeli goods and organizations and is collectively directed against Jewish Israelis and uses anti-Semitic prejudices.” Mu[s]zar said BDS is to be judged as “anti-Semitic.”

My question is if this quote is correct and indeed representing (the views of) your party?

The reason for asking is that endorsing or actively supporting BDS is part and parcel of the Green DNA. It’s hard to understand why German Greens would do the exact opposite, but moreover why they would be attacking their sister parties and voters with accusations from this outer category.

It’s not without obligation to publicly suggest that citizens and organizations that endorse or practice BDS are involved in anti-Semitism; I assume you can produce plenty of evidence for this claim. To be honest, we would expect such statements from our enemies, not from our friends.

But in case the quote would indeed reflect your position, let me remind you of the following.

  • BDS is about standing up for Palestinian rights. Not as a political act, but as a humanitarian duty, sparked by the decades-long failure of our politicians to safeguard the Palestinians from Israeli colonialism. Don’t make it any more complicated than that, and be grateful that civil society picks up on the responsibility that politicians have neglected so much. Bottom line: we won’t stand by any longer to watch the remains of Palestinian society being destroyed. We will act and do what’s right.
  • BDS is fully legitimate, enshrined in our European values and protected by our constitutions, laws and conventions. BDS is peaceful, and its demands are in line with rulings by the United Nations and other authoritative institutions in the field of international law and human rights. And it has a great track record: BDS brought down the South African Apartheid regime – a fact that is loudly applauded in Europe and beyond.
  • BDS is not about jews, but about the Palestinians, their lives and rights, their land and resources. It targets the occupier and oppressor, being Israel. BDS is against any form of racism, including anti-Semitism and zionism, and has no opinion on jews or any other religious group. Note that only Israel and its supporters place BDS in an ethnic-religious frame.
  • In doing so these stakeholders are validating Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians as ‘jewish’ instead of ‘Israeli’. May I suggest that anyone on the lookout for anti-Semitism refrains from this dangerous kind of Wörtspielerei and sterotypes? There is no such thing as ‘jewish crimes’. The crimes that are being targeted by the BDS Movement are Israeli crimes, committed by the state of Israel. It’s the state that’s held accountable, like Russia is held accountable for occupying the Krim, like South Africa was boycotted for its Apartheid policies.
  • On a personal level I wish to add the following. In the US, Europe and Israel/Palestine many leaders and members of the BDS Movement are jewish. I am one of them, and I know many others. From where we stand it is beyond belief that a German political party has a public statement published, insinuating that (literally) thousands of us are in fact supporting an anti-jewish agenda, and that we accept anti-Semitism in our ranks. I am sure you must be aware that this is both absurd and untrue.

Please note that the Dutch government has officially stated – as recent as two weeks ago – that BDS is within the law, not anti-Semitic or discriminating, and a fundamental democratic right that should be practised freely. Considering that The Netherlands are among Israels closest allies, this raises the question: What brings the German Greens to their extreme position?

So far about my observations, thanking you for your attention. A final plea: we need you badly in our struggle for justice. May I point at the following claim on your website, that would more than justify your endorsement of BDS:

Wir GRÜNE sind aus der Friedensbewegung entstanden. Davon ist unsere Politik geprägt: Der Schutz der Menschenrechte und das Ziel einer globalen Gerechtigkeit sind die Grundpfeiler unserer Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik.

I am available for further explanation. For a broader perspective on the matter, please note the recent Amsterdam lecture by Israeli writer and human rights activist Miko Peled (‘The General’s Son’). I am sending this mail to a number of Greens, just to be sure this point is properly addressed within the party.

In friendship, and with kind regards,

Allard de Rooi

Deutsche Übersetzung

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