September 14, 2016 | The Jewish Chronicle

German teachers’ union shreds pro-BDS article

A branch of the German teachers’ union has pulped copies of its September magazine because it included an article advocating a boycott of Israel.

The Education and Science Workers’ Union (GEW), in the northern city of Oldenburg, also apologised for making a “big mistake“ in publishing the article.

The piece, written by teacher Christoph Glanz, a GEW member, called for a total boycott of the Jewish state. It is believed to be the first instance of a German workers’ organisation urging a boycott of Jews and Israel since the Holocaust.

The union has written on its website that it “rejects a boycott of Israel and antisemitic positions“.

Mr Glanz is now being investigated by local school authorities for a possible violation of his civil service duties. German teachers are required to be politically neutral.

The teacher, who uses the name Christopher Ben Kush on his Twitter feed, tweeted that “Israel´s government is a racist freak show“.

He told the regional paper Nordwest-Zeitung on Monday that he was “appalled” at the union's decision.

The German Social Democratic MP Michaela Engelmeier tweeted that she was “pleased that the GEW Oldenburg distanced itself“ from Mr Glanz.

German Jewish leaders in northern Germany accused the teacher of antisemitic views.

Mr Glanz responded that the allegation was “absurd.“

Charlotte Knobloch, the chairwoman of the Munich Jewish community and a Holocaust survivor, said: “The BDS campaign disguises the socially unacceptable ‘Don’t buy from Jews!’ as a modernised form of Nazi jargon by demanding ‘Don’t buy from the Jewish state.’”

Volker Beck, the Green Party MP who heads the German-Israel parliamentary group, said he expected GEW's Oldenberg branch to follow the national union and “condemn BDS as antisemitic. Everything else would be unacceptable.”

Benjamin Weinthal is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal.