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Germany designates BDS movement as 'extremist group'

Germany designates BDS as 'extremist group' over anti-Israel stances
2 min read
19 June, 2024
Germany has classified the pro-Palestinian BDS movement as an "extremist" group, based on a 2023 intelligence report.
Germany is a staunch supporter of Israel and has previously cracked down on pro-Palestinian activism [Getty/file photo]

Germany on Tuesday designated the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) group as an "extremist movement."

The decision came following a report last year by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency saying that the movement was suspected of extremism. The report based this on the group’s participation in anti-Israel rallies and conferences since the start of the war on Gaza on 7 October.

It also highlighted BDS' founding document which calls for the liberation of all Arab lands – including Palestine – which Israel and many of its allies claim is antisemitic and incites violence against Israel.

BDS is a nonviolent Palestinian-led movement promoting boycotts of Israeli products, withdrawal of investments from Israel, and sanctions on the country, in response to Israel's continued occupation of the West Bank, war and siege on Gaza, and oppression of the Palestinian people.

The group describes itself as "upholding the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity". 

Classifying the group as "extremist" will allow German authorities to monitor the movement’s activists and recruit informants within the organisation, media reports said.

In 2019, the German parliament approved a resolution denouncing BDS and describing its methods as "antisemitic", the first European legislature to do so.

The non-binding motion vowed not to financially support any projects that call for a boycott of Israel, actively support the BDS movement, or "question Israel's right to exist".

Germany has voiced unwavering support for Israel since the start of its ferocious air and ground campaign in Gaza which has killed over 37,000 people, mostly women and children.

Despite very limited criticism over the colossal death toll and Israeli military conduct, Berlin has continued to stand by Israel in the offensive which many nations around the world have called a genocide.