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Israel Urges German Bank to Stop Enabling 'Antisemetic BDS Movement'
The Jerusalem Post ^ | Benjamin Weinthal

Posted on 02/03/2018 4:43:56 AM PST by beaversmom

Israel's strategic affairs minister Gilad Erdan demanded on Sunday that a controversial German bank shut an account that enables an anti-Zionist organization to raise funds to boycott the Jewish state and spread antisemitism.

"As Minister of Strategic Affairs, I am leading an international campaign to defend Israel from the BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] movement's hateful attacks against Israel's right to exist. This stance against BDS has been adopted by our close friends in Germany, including the CDU [Christian Democratic Union party] and municipalities such as Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich. I call on the Bank for Social Economy to join the many German institutions, leaders and citizens who are uniting to reject the discriminatory and antisemitic boycott movement against Israel," Erdan told The Jerusalem Post.

The Bank für Sozialwirtschaft (Bank for Social Economy) holds an account for the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East. In response to Israel's January ban of 20 organizations that advocate a boycott of Israel, the pro-BDS entity Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East wrote an open letter to Erdan, saying: "Among the list of banned organizations is our sister organization the Jewish Voice for Peace in the US, with whom we share many values and political goals, and for whom we have the highest regard."

The US-based Jewish Voice Peace (JVP) hosted the convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh last year at its 2017 conference in Chicago. Odeh, a former member of the US and EU classified terrorist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was responsible for a 1969 bombing that murdered two Israeli students, Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe, in a Jerusalem supermarket. She pleaded guilty in 2017 to US naturalization fraud and was deported last year to Jordan because she lied about her terrorism conviction when she entered the US. The head of Jewish Voice for Peace said at the time that JVP was “honored to hear from her.”

Uwe Becker, the deputy mayor of Frankfurt and the city's treasurer, told the Post that "the Bank für Sozialwirtschaft is totally wrong in accepting the explanation of the Jüdische Stimme [Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East ] regarding the BDS movement. Different from the reasoning of Jüdische Stimme towards BDS, the real aim of the antisemitic boycott movement is of course the delegitimization of the State of Israel. Leading representatives and supporters of the BDS movement have often declared that their aim is the end of the Jewish state. And of course, the means that BDS uses are not peaceful, they are violent as they permanently try to intimidate universities, scientists, companies, artists, politicians etc. not to cooperate in any field with partners from Israel or to reconsider visiting the country."

Becker continued, "For that reason, the Bank für Sozialwirtschaft should reconsider their wrong evaluation and quit the business connection with Jüdische Stimme as long as they support the antisemitic BDS movement."

Becker announced last week that Frankfurt will only conduct business with banks that do not support or engage in commerce with BDS groups.

It is unclear if the Bank for Social Economy conducts business with Frankfurt. Stephanie Rüth, a spokeswoman for the Bank for Social Economy, declined to comment on the bank's business activities in Frankfurt. She told the Post that nearly a year ago the bank re-opened the account of the German group Jewish Voice after "intensively dealing with the topic of support for the BDS campaign." She said only under certain conditions was the account for Jewish Voice permitted.

The bank wrote in a statement on its website that "Jewish Voice said that the group's support of BDS is free from violence... and not against the existence of the State of Israel."

The bank initially closed the account of Jewish Voice in December 2016 because it failed to meet the bank’s ethical standards and stoked antisemitism, according to statement posted on its website at the time.

The Cologne-based bank said the decisive reason for the closure is the group “Jewish Voice supports the campaign Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS). This has the goal of destabilizing the State of Israel and is not compatible with the principles of the Bank for Social Economy.”

Post queries to Harald Schmitz, the chairman of the bank, regarding the bank's reopening of the BDS account were not specifically answered.

The prominent Central Welfare Board of Jews in Germany (ZWST) organization, which maintains an account with the Bank for Social Economy, announced that it will seek to exert its influence on the bank's anti-Israel activity. Benjamin Bloch, the executive director of ZWST, told the Post: "The trans-national BDS movement pursues the goal of one-sided demonization, delegitimization and isolation of the state of Israel with double standards. The ZWST assesses the BDS campaign as Israel-related Antisemitism. The ZWST will continue to make use of its influence to actively confront the BDS campaign."

The ZWST declined to say if it planned to terminate its account with the Bank for Social Economy. ZWST representative Michael Warman has a seat on the bank's board of directors. Warman declined to respond to a Post interview request. Vivian Katz, a spokeswoman for ZWST, told the Post: "Mr. Warman only represents the ZWST in a control function [at the bank]. He has nothing to do with the daily business of the bank."

Germany's largest local Jewish community in Berlin, with a membership of over 10,000, also has an account with the Bank for Social Economy. Ilan Kiesling, a spokesman for the community, told the Post the Jewish community works to combat the "activities of the antisemitic BDS movement." He said the communitiy's commissioner on antisemitism told a Berlin state senate committee meeting in January that Berlin's government should follow the examples of Munich by not financing BDS or BDS-affiliated organizations.

When asked if the Jewish community plans to terminate its account in light of the BDS activities of the bank, Kiesling declined to comment.

New announcements of European and American banks and online payment services closing BDS accounts are revealed every few months. The US online payment service PayPal shut down last Friday the account of the pro-BDS France-Palestine Solidarity Association (AFPS). The AFPS was on Israel's list of 20 banned BDS organizations. After a Post expose last year, Deutsche Bank and its daughter bank Postbank shut down all of their accounts with the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany. The Marxist-Leninist Party campaigned during the 2017 federal election with the Palestinian terrorist organization PFLP. In 2016, Commerzbank -- Germany's second largest financial institution -- closed the account of a BDS website. The French-owned DAB bank in Munich terminated its account with the German organization BDS Campaign in 2016. The closures of BDS bank accounts across Europe, including in Ireland, UK and Austria, suggest a growing consensus that BDS presents a dangerous business for banks.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Germany; Israel

1 posted on 02/03/2018 4:43:56 AM PST by beaversmom
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To: beaversmom

Germans trying to hurt Jews. Who’d have thunk it?

2 posted on 02/03/2018 5:14:27 AM PST by aynrandfreak (Being a Democrat means never having to say you're sorry)
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To: beaversmom


3 posted on 02/03/2018 5:16:25 AM PST by granada
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To: aynrandfreak

It about anti-Israel. And quite a lot of liberal jews have endorsed or supported this radical movement.


4 posted on 02/03/2018 5:28:13 AM PST by granada
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To: granada

until the Likud recognizes UNR 181 as the boundries, it’s going to be difficult for the rest of the world to normalize relations. Peace will be impossible as long as the Likud extremists remain in denial

5 posted on 02/03/2018 5:58:13 AM PST by vooch (America First Drain the Swamp)
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To: aynrandfreak

Did you read beyond the first paragraph before commenting?

6 posted on 02/03/2018 9:56:23 AM PST by Moltke (Reasoning with a liberal is like watering a rock in the hope to grow a building.)
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To: Moltke

Yes, I did. German liberal globalists aren’t doing the Jews still there, or Israelis, many favors.

7 posted on 02/03/2018 10:01:30 AM PST by aynrandfreak (Being a Democrat means never having to say you're sorry)
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