Co-Author of Anti-BDS Bill Passed at German University: ‘First Step’ in War Against Antisemitism’ (INTERVIEW)
The passage of an anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution at Leipzig University in Germany is a “first step” in the war against the global antisemitic campaign, a co-author of the bill told The Algemeiner on Thursday.
“We are optimistic that our student council resolution is representative of the over 29,000 students at our school and we hope to achieve more,” said Christian Kleindienst, spokesman for the Student Representative Council of the Institute for the Study of Culture (FSR KuWi), the body that submitted the bill labeling BDS as antisemitic to Leipzig University’s Student Council (StuRa).
Kleindienst — who also serves as a delegate on StuRa — told The Algemeiner that the resolution was a response to a campus event featuring Lori Allen, a professor from the University of London who supports academic boycotts of Israel and justifies terrorism against the Jewish state.
Though StuRa had already passed a resolution rejecting antisemitism in any form in 2015, Kleindienst said, “It was so general that we decided to concretize it in reference to BDS and other such campaigns.”
Kleindienst said he and fellow FSR KuWi members were responsible for writing up the text of the resolution — borrowing, in certain passages, language of a resolution passed by the university’s Young Socialists, which lent its support to the FSR KuWi bill. The resolution was also supported by the civil society group Alliance Against Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism Leipzig, which initiated the FSR KuWi debate on Allen’s event.
After submitting the resolution to StuRa and taking part in discussions and democratic procedures, Kleindienst said, the bill passed on August 2. “There was no huge protest against our application,” he added. “And, as far as I know, there were no public statements against the bill after its passing through our student council.”
The resolution, as translated into English from German by the blog Legal Insurrection, reads in part:
The Student Council condemns antisemitic boycott campaigns, such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] and stands against the execution, participation in, and promotion of such campaigns and events at the University of Leipzig.
Therefore, the Student Council will not support BDS Campaign or settings (events, exhibitions, demonstrations etc.) in which BDS Movement is involved.
We consider international cooperation vital for the Academics. As a Student Council, we stand against antisemitic measures such as the disinviting of Israeli academicians from conferences in the context of the boycott campaign, and [council will] publicize whenever it happens — thereby contributing to the clarification of the matter and preventing such an occurrence…
Even the basic aim of the BDS movement, the complete boycott of the State of Israel, fits seamlessly with the antisemitic campaigns of past centuries, and explicitly with that of the National Socialism; Nazi slogan ‘Don’t Buy From the Jews’ is once again being expressed here…
Practically, Kleindienst told The Algemeiner, the resolution now guarantees that the StuRa “will not support any event associated with BDS, antisemitism and antisemitic boycott campaigns.”
According to Kleindienst, the “next step” is to bring the discussion of BDS and antisemitism to the university’s administrators, including the faculty board, rector and senate.
“We want to obtain a commitment from them against BDS, antisemitic boycott campaigns and antisemitism in general,” he said. “We are conveying the message that we will stand up against such phenomena.”