British Foreign Secretary: Boycotting Israel is anti-Semitic

Jeremy Hunt backs German parliament’s resolution defining the BDS movement as “anti-Semitic”.

Ben Ariel,

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt expressed support for the German parliament’s resolution defining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as “anti-Semitic”, the UK-based Jewish News reported on Tuesday.

Hunt, who is believed to be among the frontrunners to succeed Theresa May as prime minister, made the remarks on Twitter after the Bundestag approved the resolution this past Friday.

“Tremors, turbulence & terror in Mid East remind us of urgent need for peace: two-state solution. But the foundations for peace are respect & coexistence. Boycotting Israel – the world’s only Jewish state – is antisemitic. I salute Germany for taking stand,” he wrote.

The German resolution calls on the government to refrain from any support to organizations that are involved in boycott activities against Israel.

“All-encompassing calls for boycotts in their radical nature lead to the stigmatization of Israeli citizens and citizens of Jewish faith as a whole," the resolution reads. "This is unacceptable and worthy of the sharpest condemnation.”

According to the resolution, “The arguments and methods of the BDS movement are anti-Semitic”.

Hunt’s comments appear to be an evolution in his thinking on BDS, noted the Jewish News. He earlier said, “I do not believe that imposing sanctions on Israel would be a constructive step… the best way to combat the BDS movement is through discussion rather than proscription.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday also welcomed the German move.

“I congratulate the German Bundestag on the important decision that recognizes the BDS as an anti-Semitic movement and declares that it is forbidden to fund it. I particularly appreciate the Bundestag's call on Germany to stop funding organizations working against Israel's existence. I hope that the decision will lead to concrete steps and call on other countries to adopt similar legislation,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), however, blasted the German motion, saying that the resolution was "an attack against the Palestinian people and its legitimate rights," adding that the BDS movement is part of the fight of the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation regime, apartheid and racial segregation.

Similarly, Hamas also criticized Germany, saying, “We condemn passing this unfair resolution by the German Bundestag that is against the Palestinian people’s right to resist the Israeli occupation, which is the most terrible occupation in history, with all means possible, given that boycott is a peaceful means of resistance against the Israeli occupation.”

The Arab League called on the German parliament to rescind the resolution that condemned a boycott movement against Israel as anti-Semitic.

The League's assistant secretary-general for Palestinian affairs Saeed Abu Ali said in a statement the Bundestag's motion against BDS is "regrettable... unjustified... (and) biased" in favor of Israel.

He urged Germany's parliament to "reverse this erroneous step and support the Palestinian people's right for liberation."