A Norwegian lawmaker who nominated the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for a Nobel Peace Prize is arguing that the movement is “peaceful”.
The lawmaker, Bjornar Moxnes, denied in an interview with the Middle East Eye website that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic, adding his nomination is aimed at the Israeli government and not the Jewish people.
“The BDS movement is a legitimate, peaceful, non-violent movement trying to push the Israeli government to abide by international law, and trying to struggle for a peaceful solution in Palestine and in the Middle East,” Moxnes told MEE.
Moxnes added that the Red Party in Norway, which he leads, works to achieve social justice in Norway and internationally.
“We try to make sure that Norway acts as a peace nation, not as a nation taking part in the US wars all over the world,” he told MEE.
He said the leftist Red Party has “consistently supported all forms of legal resistance against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and oppression of Palestinians.”
MEE also noted that MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) wrote a letter to the Norwegian ambassador in Israel denouncing Moxnes' nomination and noting the violent and anti-Semitic nature of the BDS movement.
“There is nothing peaceful about delegitimizing a country’s academic and cultural institutions that are critical to creating an environment conducive for peace,” wrote Haskel.
Moxnes rejected the accusations, telling MEE, “I’m proud to say that our activism, our stance towards this conflict is completely free of anti-Semitism. It’s not against the people of Israel. It’s not against the Jewish people; it’s against the policies of a state, which (are) without doubt against international law.”
“It’s perfectly possible to be against these policies from the government and support the BDS campaign to put pressure on them, and at the same time be perfectly clear against any kind of anti-Semitism. That’s our platform,” he added.
Moxnes told the website the nomination has received overwhelming support from inside Norway and “people all over the world who struggle for peaceful and just solution between Israelis and Palestinians”.
“Our hope is that this nomination will ignite the BDS campaign and will give it a lot more support and attention all over the world, and of course, that it will end up on the shortlist in September for the Nobel Peace Prize, and hopefully also win the Peace Prize,” he added.
Last month, the Israeli government published a list of anti-Israel organizations whose activists will not be allowed to enter Israel as part of its continuing fight against the BDS movement.
The movement responded angrily, branding Israel’s decision as “yet another desperate, fanatic attempt by Israel's far-right government to silence its critics and counter the impressive growth of the nonviolent BDS movement for Palestinian rights around the world.”
The BDS movement also claimed that the Israeli ban “follows the script of South Africa's apartheid regime: it is an anti-democratic, exclusionary and a desperate continuation of Israel's propaganda and legal warfare against the BDS movement.”
BDS has notably also been targeted by dozens of U.S. states which have passed legislation against the movement.