Munich mayor rejects Israel’s request to cancel tax-funded BDS lecture


Outlawed in France as anti-Semitic, and reported in the Spanish press as a violent organization’ after Matisyahu’s concert ban & then reinvitation, the BDS city-sponsored lecture will take place on the eve of the Nazis’ ‘Kristallnacht’, in Munich, of all places.



“We are in touch with the municipality of Munich in order to prevent this event from happening,” the head of Israel’s consulate, Dan Shaham, wrote to ‘The Jerusalem Post’ on Friday.

Demonstrators take part in a pro-Israel rally in Munich. – Photo: REUTERS

BERLIN – Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter on Friday refused a request from Israel’s top diplomat in the city to pull the plug on an allegedly anti-Semitic event advocating a boycott of the Jewish state in a municipal building.

“We are in touch with the municipality of Munich in order to prevent this event from happening,” the head of Israel’s consulate, Dan Shaham, wrote to The Jerusalem Post on Friday. “We are awaiting their decision.”

Reiter’s press spokesman, Stefan Hauf, wrote the Post: “The mayor telephoned with the General Consul Dan Shaham and made the argument to him that he does not have a basis to cancel the event. According to the cultural representative, the event is merely a lecture and a call to boycott is not planned.”

“Those who do not see the anti-Semitic tone and boycott character of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign does not want to see,” Volker Beck, a MP for the Green Party in the Bundestag, told the Post. “[Advocating BDS] is indeed protected by freedom of opinion but this should not be sponsored by a city. I consider that unacceptable.“

The Central Council of Jews in Germany on Wednesday awarded Beck, the head of the German-Israel parliamentary group, its prestigious Leo Baeck award for his efforts to combat all forms of anti-Semitism.

Hauf did not respond to a Post email regarding Beck’s criticism. In a highly watched court case, France’s highest court of appeals found in late October advocates of a boycott against Israel guilty of inciting hate and discrimination. BDS activity is outlawed in France but remains legal in Germany.

Mayor Reiter’s decision to permit a taxpayer-funded municipal venue to allegedly incite hatred against the Jewish state comes at a sensitive time. Munich will host a Holocaust remembrance event a few days later to mark 77 years to the day of the Nazis’ Kristallnacht pogroms of November 9-10, 1938. Anti-Jewish boycotts launched by Germans played a key role in the initial stages of the Holocaust.

The decision by Reiter, a Social Democrat, to not intervene has marred the celebrations of 50 years of German-Israeli diplomatic relations.

In a series of Post questions to the mayor, his spokesman, Hauf, said he “rejects a boycott of Israel” and “anti-Semitic statements will not be tolerated in city rooms.”

“The Munich city library provided rent-free in its lecture hall a series of events on ’Palestine / Israel – Fall 2015,‘ including a lecture about ’the background to the development and effect‘ of the BDS campaign,” Hauf said. “The mayor was not involved in the decision.”

Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office and the organization’s chief Nazi hunter, told the Post that the BDS event “should not be hosted in a municipal building.”

“The irony is it takes place on the eve of Kristallnacht,” he said. “This is part of a serious problem of German public life. The Holocaust is sacrosanct, but it is open season on the State of Israel. They do not see the connection between anti-Semitism of the Holocaust and its heir’s attack on legitimacy of state of Israel.”

The group “I like Israel” announced a demonstration against the BDS lecture on Saturday in front of the entrance to the municipal Gasteig building.


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