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Germany's relentless campaign to silence pro-Palestinian voices

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Against the backdrop of Israeli efforts to falsely equate Zionism with Judaism and dismiss any criticism of the Israeli state as anti-Semitic, Germany is also leading a relentless campaign to ostracise pro-Palestinian activists and delegitimise their protest campaigns.

The German state has traditionally viewed protection of and unconditional ideological support for Israel as part of its raison d'etre - a way to atone for the Holocaust.

Historically, this pillar of German politics has justified the country's unconditional support for Israel and silence on Israeli abuses of Palestinian rights. More recently, it has also made the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement, which Israel sees as an existential threat, the primary target of smear campaigns and relentless persecution in the country.

The German authorities have categorised the peaceful movement as anti-Semitic and have taken action to prevent it from having any meaningful influence in the country.

In a January 2018 resolution on fighting anti-Semitism, for example, the German parliament equated calls for a boycott of Israel with insults towards Jews, and urged the German government to take decisive action against BDS. Previously, in December 2016, Germany's leading party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) condemned BDS as anti-Israeli and "coarse anti-Semitism," comparing it to the Nazis' economic strangulation of Jews.

Outside the central government, representatives of many major German cities also openly attacked the movement, and similarly equated BDS to "Nazi policies".

In August 2017, Frankfurt's mayor Uwe Becker passed legislation to ban municipal and city-owned funding for BDS individuals, activities, or groups. He told Israeli media that he believes BDS "is a deeply anti-Semitic movement" seeking "to deeply........

© Al Jazeera