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June 6, 2016 2:26 pm

Human Rights Group Slams Mayor of German City for Inaction Against ‘Nazi-Style’ Tactics by Local Pro-BDS Group

avatar by Lea Speyer

The SWC is calling out the Mayor of Bremen, Germany for his inaction in combating a local BDS movement. Photo: Rami Tarawneh/ Wikimedia Commons.

The SWC is calling out the Mayor of Bremen, Germany for his inaction in combating a local BDS movement. Photo: Rami Tarawneh/ Wikimedia Commons.

Government inaction against an anti-Israel group in Bremen, Germany are reminiscent of Nazi actions against Jews in the 1930s, an official from a Jewish human rights organization said on Monday.

In a letter to Bremen mayor Carsten Seiling, Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) Director for International Relations Dr. Shimon Samuels raised concerns over reports that the pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) group, the Bremen Peace Forum, is waging anti-Israel campaigns from city-owned and federally funded property.

As was revealed by a Jerusalem Post investigation, the Forum has carried out numerous activities in support of the BDS movement, among them staging protests in front of supermarkets — holding posters of bloody oranges — and calling on shoppers to boycott Israeli goods. 

The Jerusalem Post report noted that critics of the Forum have likened the group’s Israel-boycott goals with the neo-Nazi organization Dir Dritte Weg and far-Right neo-Nazi party NPD. According to Gitta Conneman, a Bundestag deputy from the Christian Democratic Union, the Forum “may be convinced that it is not antisemitic. But it uses, whether conscious or unconscious, antisemitic cliches, prejudices and language.”

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The group’s headquarters are located at the Villa Ichon, which is owned by the city of Bremen. A spokesman for Mayor Seiling confirmed to the paper that the Forum is currently leasing the Villa Ichon, and the contract, which expires in 2031, cannot be cut short.

According to SWC’s Samuels, “Bremen seems to be the BDS capital of today’s Germany, where uniformed Hitler Youth-style goons terrorize supermarket staff in looting Israeli and other Kosher products, destroying them in a paroxysm of Jew-hatred.”

He wrote to the mayor that his municipality’s inaction “against a reportedly, increasingly violent antisemitic campaign, otherwise known as BDS…is reminiscent of the 1930s’ ‘Kauden nicht bei Juden’ (Do Not Buy From Jews) assaults in Nazi Germany.”

“Mr. Mayor, if you are proud to see BDS as a ‘cultural and social’ phenomenon, the image of Bremen is sadly tarnished,” Samuels wrote, calling on Seilig “to invoke your municipal integrity to publicly condemn BDS and take measures for the rapid eviction of these hooligans from the Villa Ichon.”

“Your continued inaction can only be construed as championship of BDS and co-responsibility in possibly violent repercussions against the Jewish community,” Samuels concluded.

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