37 Jewish scholars call to fire Germany’s anti-Semitism commissioner over BDS opposition

Thirty-seven Israeli and Jewish scholars have called for the firing of Germany’s anti-Semitism commissioner, Dr. Felix Klein, over his opposition to the participation of a pro-BDS professor at a publicly-funded German cultural event.

In April, Klein cancelled the appearance of pro-BDS Cameroonian professor Achille Mbembe who was slated to speak in August at the popular Ruhrtriennale festival in Germany, asserting that Mbembe’s anti-Israel views were tantamount to anti-Semitism.

Mbembe, an outspoken anti-Israel critic, has charged that Israel is worse than the former apartheid regime in South Africa and should be “globally isolated.”

In the letter sent to the Germany’s Chancellor, Interior Minister, and Foreign Minister on April 30th, the 37 Jewish scholars, including 29 Israelis, called to fire Klein “following his shameful attack on Prof. Achille Mbembe.”

They accused Klein of “the ‘weaponization’ of antisemitism against critics…[who] protest Israel’s violations of basic rights of the Palestinians,” and of being “clearly obsessed by the BDS campaign.”

“It is deplorable but unsurprising that the Israeli government is waging war against BDS,” continued the academics, who asserted that “this anti-BDS crusade is undeniably contributing to the marginalization of non-white voices and minorities in Germany.”

“Our views on BDS differ, but it is entirely clear: BDS as such is not antisemitic and is essentially protected by freedom of speech and freedom of assembly,” added the academics.

Signatories of the letter included nine academics from Tel Aviv University, eight from Hebrew University, and three from Ben-Gurion University.

Matan Peleg, CEO of the Zionist watchdog group Im Tirtzu that revealed the letter, said: “This is yet another unfortunate example of how damaging the ‘BDS from within’ phenomenon is to Israel.”

“While tremendous amounts of resources are invested in Israel and throughout the world to combat the international BDS movement, these radical Israeli professors are undermining these efforts by promoting BDS from within Israel.”

“Israeli academia must immediately work to root out this severe phenomenon. The writing is on the wall,” Peleg added.

In June 2019, 240 Jewish academics, including some 80 Israelis urged the German government to reject its law defining BDS as anti-Semitic.

“We all reject the deceitful allegation that BDS as such is anti-Semitic and maintain that boycotts are a legitimate and non-violent tool of resistance,” the academics said.


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