From The Jerusalem Post, February 17, 2016 –
There is a growing backlash against BDS in Germany
The Munich-based DAB Bank is slated to discontinue the account of one of the top BDS campaign websites in Germany, the Jerusalem Post has learned.
The BDS-Kampagne [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Campaign] group’s website lists DAB Bank Munich as the financial institution for electronic money transfers.
The Post uncovered the DAB bank account for the BDS campaign website targeting Israel.
Dr. Jürgen Eikenbusch, the spokesman for DAB Bank Munich, wrote the Post by email on Tuesday: “Because of bank secrecy [financial laws] we cannot provide you with concrete information about the account. We took the information very seriously and are examining the topic and are taking, if necessary. the corresponding measures.”
DAB Munich is the German branch of its French mother company bank, BNP Paribas. French law outlaws BDS activity targeting the Jewish state.
It is unclear if action by BNP Paribas against the BDS-Kampagne account is connected to possible violations of French anti-BDS or anti-terrorism laws.
The BDS-Kampagne website promotes a “petition in support of the right to call for a boycott of Israeli goods in France.”
According to German bank law, the BDS-Kampagne will have 60 days to close its account and remove the DAB bank information from its website.
Energetic anti-Israel activist Doris Ghannam is listed on the BDS website as the holder of the DAB account. Asked by the Post via telephone on Monday about the closure of her DAB account, she insisted that the newspaper send her a written query, but declined to respond to the queries, including questions about BDS-Kampagne’s views of Hezbollah and Hamas, which are designated by the EU and US as terrorist organizations, and about the Iranian-backed al-Quds Day protests in Germany.
In 2014, BNP Paribas pleaded guilty to criminal charges for violating US sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, Sudan and Cuba. BNP Paribas paid nearly $9 billion – a record financial penalty for a bank – to the US government because of its illicit activity.
Manhattan attorney Preet Bharara, who played a key role in prosecuting BNP Paribas, said at the time:”BNPP banked on never being held to account for its criminal support of countries and entities engaged in acts of terrorism and other atrocities, but that is exactly what we did today.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Union officially oppose BDS.
Charlotte Knobloch, a Holocaust survivor who heads the Munich Jewish community, told the Post in November, “The BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] campaign disguises the socially unacceptable ’Don’t buy from Jews!’ as a modernized form of Nazi jargon by demanding ‘Don’t buy from the Jewish State.’” The BDS-Kampagne website promotes and lists demonstrations in front of German department stores and supermarkets against Israeli products. Critics of BDS argue that the goal of the anti-Israel boycott movement mirrors the al-Quds day slogans to dismantle the Jewish state.
The website cites the 2005 Palestinian call to boycott Israel and its aim to return millions of Palestinians to Israel: “Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.”
There is a growing backlash against BDS in Germany. The city council of Bayreuth rescinded on Tuesday its human rights and tolerance prize to the pro-BDS US group Code Pink.
In September the Commerzbank, Germany’s second largest bank, closed a pro- BDS account connected to the al-Quds day demonstration and annual marches in German cities calling for the destruction of Israel.
The bank “closed the account in September because of business conditions,” a spokesman told the Post in September.
The mass-circulation Berlin daily BZ published a piece by popular columnist Gunnar Schupelius in July titled, “Israel haters collect money through Commerzbank.”