September 7, 2017 | The Jerusalem Post

Under Fire Berlin Mayor Equates BDS With Nazis, Rejects Israel Boycott

The mayor of Germany’s capital, Michael Müller, will personally stop all city support and space for groups that advocate the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign targeting the Jewish state, according to a Wednesday statement from the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

The Berlin mayor said, “BDS stands with antisemitic signs in front of Berlin businesses. Those are intolerable methods from the Nazi period. We will do everything possible to withdraw money and rooms for BDS’s anti-Israel agitation.”

Müller said he would also take possible legal actions against the “hate-driven al-Quds day march.” He said what would “be best is a ban” of the annual Iranian regime march calling for the destruction of Israel.

The mayor, who has been under fire for months for his inaction toward BDS, said he will ensure there are “at a minimum strict ordinances and prosecution of all offenses” at the al-Quds march.

The city currently bans the display of Hezbollah flags at the rally attended by Islamists, radical leftists, neo-Nazis, and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine supporters. Müller said he will “continue to make clear his position regarding Israel and against antisemitism and racism in my city government.”

The head of the 98,600 member Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, met on Wednesday in Berlin with the mayor about BDS, the pro-Iranian and pro-Hezbollah al-Quds march in the city, and hatred of Jews.

After a series of Jerusalem Post reports on widespread anti-Israel boycott activity and antisemitism in Berlin – including the disruption of a talk by Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie and an Israeli Holocaust survivor at a Berlin university – Müller appears to have felt growing pressure to act.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s announcement to the Post last week that the mayor might be included on its list of the top-10 worst cases of anti-Israel and antisemitic activity in 2017 was likely the straw that the broke the camel’s back of mayoral indifference to BDS and hatred of Israel in Berlin.

Associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Post on Wednesday: “Nothing pleases me more than removing the mayor of Berlin from consideration on the list. The mayor’s condemnation of BDS and of boycotts of Israel are exactly the kind of statements need to marginalize and defeat this anti-peace, antisemitic movement.”

Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow at the nonpartisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies. You can follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal.

You can follow the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Twitter @FDD.