German Jewish leader calls on bank to close account of BDS group

The president of Germany’s nearly 100,000-member Jewish community called on the Bank for Social Economy to pull the plug on its account with the pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) group Jewish Voice.

“It is overdue that the Bank for Social Economy finally take the consequences and close the account of the Jewish Voice,” Dr. Josef Schuster said. “For months now, the bank’s executive board has beat around the bush about this issue.”

Jewish Voice supports the BDS campaign against Israel.

Schuster, whose statements were first reported by the German Jewish weekly Jüdische Allgemeine, said the bank needs to take a clear position and not hide behind reports.

“There can be no compromise on antisemitism,” he said. “Determination is needed here.”

The Bank for Social Economy’s chief executive Harald Schmitz has hired, according to critics, a controversial academic, Juliane Wetzel, to issue a report on whether the organisation, Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East, is antisemitic.

Schuster said the direction of the “BDS movement is undoubtedly antisemitic.” He added if one works with BDS, then one is more likely to adopt their political attitude. Schuster praised the city of Bonn for deleting a pro-BDS event advertisement from its website that was supported by the Jewish Voice. The city apologised for posting the notice.

Jewish Voice has compared Israel’s political leadership to that of Adolf Hitler. A member of the group, Iris Hefets, held a sign at an anti-Israel rally declaring: “Führer of Israel to the international court.”

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