January 30, 2018 | The Jerusalem Post

German City Cuts Ties to Banks that Enable Israel Boycotts

The deputy mayor of the city of Frankfurt announced on Monday that the municipal government will end all commerce with banks that conduct business with organizations that support a boycott of the Jewish state.

In a statement sent to The Jerusalem Post, Deputy Mayor Uwe Becker wrote that “we will shortly only work together with banks, peoples’ banks, and Sparkassen (public saving banks), who do not maintain business relations with organizations of the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement or affiliated groups.”

Frankfurt is the first German city to sanction banks and financial institutions for providing services to the BDS campaign targeting Israel. The Frankfurt decision to penalize financial entities could have far-reaching implications for the scores of BDS organizations that operate in Germany.

Frankfurt, with a population of nearly 720,000, is located in the state of Hesse and is considered the banking capital of Germany.

Becker said that he planned to forward letters to banks about the new anti-BDS policy.

Frankfurt’s anti-BDS policy also applies to credit institutions and companies that conduct business with the city of Frankfurt.

Becker said that the BDS movement uses, with its messages, the same language, in which the National Socialists formerly expressed themselves: “Don’t buy from Jews!” Becker added that BDS is a “deeply antisemitic movement and should have no place in the city of Frankfurt.”

The pro-BDS group European Alliance of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners has a Sparkasse account in the city of Cologne.

The anti-Zionist BDS group Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East retains a Berlin Sparkasse account as well an account with the Bank for Social Economy.

Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East declared the US-based Jewish Voice for Peace to be largely its mirror entity in Germany. After the Israeli government banned Jewish Voice for Peace from entering Israel due to security concerns, Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East wrote: “Among the list of banned organizations is our sister organization the Jewish Voice for Peace in the US, with whom we share many values and political goals, and for whom we have the highest regard.”

Jewish Voice for Peace hosted the convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh at an event last April.

JVP said it was “honored to hear from her.” The US deported Odeh because she lied about her terrorism conviction to enter the country.

In 2016, the French-owned German bank DAB in Munich terminated the account of BDS Campaign. The Israeli government barred the German BDS Campaign from entering the state. The Frankfurt-based Commerzbank – Germany’s second-largest bank – shut down the account of a BDS website in 2016.

Frankfurt issued an executive order last year banning city rooms and financial support for BDS activity.

Benjamin Weinthal reports on human rights in the Middle East and is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal.

Follow the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Twitter @FDD. FDD is a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.