German Jewish leader calls on churches to distance themselves more clearly from BDS

The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dr. Josef Schuster, called on the Protestant and Catholic churches in Germany to distance themselves more clearly from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and its calls for boycotts against Israel.

“The attitude in parts of the two big churches towards Israel is unfortunately not clear,” Schuster said  at the “Cologne Talks” of the Catholic Kolping Society. “In both churches there are attitudes to Israel that clearly go beyond normal criticism.”

The BDS movement calls for a comprehensive boycott of Israel. In May 2019, the Bundestag condemned the movement as being anti-Israeli and antisemitic.

Schuster also commented on culture, media and academia personalities that had criticised the Bundestag resolution as a restriction of freedom of opinion: “Antisemitism is not an opinion, but a crime. Of course, normal criticism of Israel’s government is legitimate, as it is of all other governments, but a view that sees Israel only as the perpetrator and the Palestinians only as victims goes too far.”

Apart from a few Protestant and Catholic associations with the aforementioned “unclear position” on Israel, the Christian-Jewish relationship in Germany had “never been as good as it is today”, the Central Council President, added.

Schuster particularly praised the “intensive reappraisal of the guilt and mistakes of the past in both churches”. Here, he said, there was a clear demarcation on the Catholic and Protestant side from the crimes of the past.


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