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Palestinian boycott movement slams Austrian parliament anti-BDS motion

February 28, 2020 at 12:17 pm

Palestinians in Gaza protest in support of BDS on 23 May 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

The Palestinian-led boycott movement has slammed a motion passed by the Austrian parliament that singles out the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign for criticism.

“Instead of fighting real anti-Jewish racism at home,” the BDS Movement stated, “Austria’s parliament adopted an anti-democratic resolution today that demonises BDS as antisemitic and calls to restrict our peaceful movement for Palestinian rights, lending support to Israel’s apartheid.”

The statement continued: “We condemn the anti-Palestinian resolution passed by Austria’s parliament. It contains outright lies, contradicts Austrian and international law, and undermines the important fight against real anti-Jewish racism.”

Rejecting the claims of anti-Jewish bigotry, the BDS Movement statement affirmed that the campaign is a “human rights movement that rejects all forms of racism, including antisemitism”.

“BDS targets no one and nothing because of their Jewish identity.”

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In addition, the statement continued, “the resolution denies the rights of Palestinians and Austrian citizens to criticise Israeli colonialism and apartheid, and to non-violently boycott complicit businesses and institutions.”

“We call on people of conscience in Austria to defend freedom of expression, including the right to boycott for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality,” the BDS Movement concluded.

Weeks before the vote, representatives of more than 200 Palestinian civil society organisations co-signed an open letter to members of the Austrian parliament, urging its members not to criminalise peaceful activism for Palestinian human rights, and to reject the resolution.

In addition, five United Nations Special Rapporteurs recently criticised a similar 2019 German Parliament resolution in a letter sent to German authorities.

Austria’s national parliament yesterday unanimously passed a resolution condemning the BDS campaign as anti-Semitic, and urging that the anti-Israel movement not be supported.