Switzerland outlaws BDS
Olga Deutsch, Director of NGO Monitor’s Europe Desk said, “Today’s positive developments in Switzerland are an important precedent in seriously countering BDS campaigns, antisemitism, and hatred. NGO Monitor was
instrumental in providing details on the Swiss government’s funding of organisations that propagate anti-peace, anti-normalisation, BDS, and one-state policies.
In particular, the parliamentary vote focused on Swiss government funding to NGOs directly through the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) in Ramallah and the NIRAS consulting firm in Sweden). This framework provides core-funding to organisations, some of which are directly affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist group designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
From 2013-2016, the IHL Secretariat provided a total of 2.38 million USD to organisations directly affiliated with the PFLP, while the Swiss government’s contribution amounted to approximately one-quarter of the total Secretariat budget. The IHL Secretariat distributes 56% of its budget to NGOs that advocate for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel.
Meanwhile the World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder also praised Switzerland’s move.
Lauder also welcomed the unanimous decision by the Council of States, the upper house of the Swiss legislature, calling on the government to ensure that all religious communities receive adequate protection against potential terrorist threats.
Both decisions, which Lauder called “admirable moves worthy of emulation,” still require the consent of the other house of the Swiss parliament before they can go into effect.
Lauder said: “The decisions of the Swiss legislature to ensure protection of the country’s religious communities against terrorist threats, and to recognize that boycotts of Israel belong in the same category as anti-Semitism and racism, are significant signs in defense of the Jewish community in Switzerland.
“The BDS movement claims to support Palestinians, but its real motivation is the delegitimization of the State of Israel. It is a movement based on the anti-Semitic denial of the Jewish people’s right to sovereignty in their own state. The Swiss parliament’s push to cease government funding of organizations that support such an ideology may finally help expose the lies and hypocrisies of the BDS once and for all.
“We are encouraged by the fact that so many lawmakers chose to vote in favor of these important decisions, and look forward to seeing them go into effect after approval by the other house. We hope that other countries in Europe will follow suit,” Lauder concluded.