Ramallah – The Palestinian Authority (PA) has issued a furious rebuke of the German parliament’s decision last week to define the anti-Zionist boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign as “antisemitic”, falling back on a well-known antisemitic trope as it did so, by accusing Israel of invoking the Nazi Holocaust to “blackmail” European countries.
In a statement responding to the adoption by German lawmakers last Friday of a non-binding resolution in which they declared their opposition to BDS as a form of “antisemitism,” the PA’s Foreign Ministry also argued that the decision was actually a backhanded compliment to the BDS campaign.
The Bundestag’s decision “reflects first that the role and action of the [BDS] organization is so influential that Israel and its supporters began to look for a pretext or justification for attacking the organization and distorting its image,” the statement, carried in English by the official WAFA news agency, remarked.
The statement then accused Israel of exploiting the Holocaust for political and financial gain, a calumny that dates back to the Cold War and which was frequently used by the Soviet Union and its Arab allies.
“Israel continues to impose its wishes on the representatives of the European peoples by blackmailing them using the historical German stigmatization of the Jews”, an oblique reference to the Nazi extermination of six million Jews during World War II, “to achieve what it [Israel] wants,” the statement said.
As a consequence, the PA continued, the “German establishment is entrenching its complicity in Israel’s crimes of military occupation, ethnic cleansing, siege and apartheid, while desperately trying to shield it from accountability to international law.”
The statement made no mention of the 81 million euros ($100 million) provided by German taxpayers to the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA in 2018, nor of the German government’s pledge to increase its contribution to Palestinian development projects in the wake of the dramatic cuts in US government assistance over the last year.
Also condemning the German parliament’s decision in angry terms was the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a body headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
In a statement on Sunday, the PLO insisted that the “principles” of the BDS campaign, whose sole target is the world’s single Jewish-majority country, were nevertheless grounded upon the “rejection of racism and discrimination based on religion, color and race.”