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Director of Jewish museum in Berlin resigns over his support of BDS petition

Peter Schafer steps down after supporting petition that declares boycotts are legitimate
Online petition signed by 240 Jewish intellectuals calls for support of BDS movement (AFP)

The director for Berlin’s Jewish museum resigned following a backlash after posting a tweet that expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The museum said on Friday that Peter Schafer stepped down from his post as director after supporting a petition signed by 240 Jewish intellectuals declaring that “boycotts are a legitimate and nonviolent tool of resistance”.

The petition apparently urged Germany not to adopt a law that classifies anti-Israel boycotts as antisemitic.

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It goes to say that the government must support groups “that peacefully challenge the Israeli occupation, expose severe violations of international law and strengthen civil society,” Haaretz reported.

“These organizations defend the principles and values at the heart of liberal democracy and rule of law, in Germany and elsewhere. More than ever, they need financial support and political backing,” it added,  as quoted by Haaretz.

Last month, Germany's parliament voted in favour of a non-binding motion that condemns the Palestinian boycott movement as antisemitic, accusing it of using what it called Nazi-era tactics.

Submitted by Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and three other parties, lawmakers accused the BDS movement of utilising "patterns and methods" used by the Nazi movement during the Holocaust.

"'Don't buy' stickers of the BDS movement on Israeli products remind one of inevitable associations with the Nazi call 'Don't buy from Jews,' and other corresponding graffiti on facades and shop windows," the text says.

The BDS movement, founded in 2005, seeks to pressure the Israeli government to end its human rights abuses against Palestinians and does not advocate for targeting practitioners of the Jewish faith.