June 6, 2012 – Berlin – AJC has raised concern about the growing number of European boycott campaigns targeting Israel.
In recent days the large Swiss supermarket coop Migros began labeling products originating in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, while the German branch of the church-based peace organization Pax Christi launched its “Occupation Tastes Bitter” boycott campaign against Israeli products.
“Boycott campaigns that target Israel hinder rather than promote peace,” said Deidre Berger, director of AJC Berlin. “Organizations that promote boycotts against democracies instead of censuring autocracies discredit themselves.”
At the recent annual meeting of Deutsche Bank shareholders, Pax Christi officials called on the bank to divest from Israeli companies with business interests in the occupied territories.
Berger also expressed dismay that the mayor of a German city has called for a boycott of Israeli products. Social Democratic mayor of the eastern German city of Jena, Albrecht Schröter, signed the Pax Christi boycott appeal, claiming he could no longer be silent about his experience in the occupied territories.
Berger questioned why Schröter felt compelled to criticize Israeli government policy while remaining silent about terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah that threaten Israel on a daily basis, or about grave human rights violations in Iran, Syria and the Palestinian territories.
“There are dozens of disputed territories worldwide but only Israel is singled out for a boycott,” said Berger. “Those with true interest in a two-state agreement between Israelis and Palestinians understand that it can only be realized through direct negotiations between the parties.”