Jerusalem Post – The teachers union in the city of Oldenburg published an article in its September paper calling for a complete boycott of the Jewish state, sparking criticism from Israel’s embassy, German teachers and pro-Israel activists, as well as the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
It appears to be the first call to boycott Israel or Jews from a German organized labor group since the Holocaust. Critics accuse the union of stoking modern Jew-hatred.
The anti-Israel activist and teacher Christoph Glanz outlined the goals of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement in his two-page article in the magazine of the Education and Science Workers’ Union (GEW).
“The GEW is an important institution in Germany. That is why we are surprised and disappointed, that the Oldenburg chapter chose to re-publish the pamphlet of a BDS activist in its magazine,” the embassy told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
The embassy continued: “The BDS movement is a worldwide campaign that calls for a boycott of Israel on all levels and de facto seeks the elimination of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
“We rely on the moral values and intellectual capabilities of readers of the magazine to correctly classify the pamphlet, but we still expect the magazine to show better editorial standards.”
The GEW article was titled, “Palestine/Israel: Documenting injustice and call for justice – not possible in Oldenburg?” The German-Israel Friendship Society (DIG) in Oldenburg – a city in Lower Saxony state with a population of nearly 164,000 – was the first group to slam the union’s leadership.
In a public letter released in August, the chairman of DIG-Oldenburg, Klaus Thörner, wrote that DIG “protests the publication of the article of the Oldenburg teacher Christoph Glanz… who is an activist of the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic BDS campaign.”
It is unusual for a mainstream German publication to call for a boycott of Israel, because the boycott of Jews was such a big part of the Nazis’ actions in the lead-up to the Holocaust.
Fringe organizations that have urged a full-blown boycott of Israel are Germany’s neo-Nazi party NPD, far-left groups such as the BDS Campaign, and Hezbollah and its supporters in the Federal Republic.
Alex Feuerherdt, a journalist and expert on contemporary German anti-Semitism, told the Postthat Glanz being “allowed to spread his hostility toward Israel in a labor union newspaper is a scandal. His activity for a boycott of Israel is not an appeal for peace; rather it is for hate. A labor union that shares such views is morally bankrupt.”
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