How Berlin started to counter BDS in 2017

Did Berlin’s Mayor start to counter BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) because of the fact the Wiesenthal Center was “considering the inclusion of Berlin’s Mayor Michael Mueller on its list of the top-10 worst cases of anti-Israel and antisemitic activity in 2017” (quote from “The Jerusalem Post” on 08/28/17)?

The government bench in the parliament of the State of Berlin: The first person from the right in the first row: Mayor Michael Mueller. The second person from the right in the third row: Secretary Sawsan Chebli.

  • On August 28, 2017, Israel’s best-selling English daily „The Jerusalem Post“ published an article overwritten in capital letters: “BERLIN MAYOR MAY BE INCLUDED ON TOP-10 LIST OF ANTISEMITIC/ANTI-ISRAEL CASES”. The newspaper reports that “the Simon Wiesenthal Center is considering the inclusion of Berlin’s Mayor Michael Mueller on its list of the top-10 worst cases of anti-Israel and antisemitic activity in 2017 because of an epidemic of hate and BDS in the German capital“. 

    According to „The Jerusalem Post“, Rabbi Abraham Cooper – the Wiesenthal Center’s Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action – said that Mayor Mueller is “mainstreaming the BDS movement … There are two reasons why he [Mueller] could theoretically make the list.“

    Rabbi Cooper said Mueller’s mayoral colleagues in Frankfurt and Munich „recognize the antisemitism of the BDS campaign targeting Israel and are legally banning city support for BDS activities. He [Mueller] is the mayor of, arguably, the most important European city. And his colleagues get it that BDS is not just mean-spirited but downright dangerous.”

    Rabbi Cooper told „The Jerusalem Post“ that the “Berlin mayor enables Hezbollah terrorists.” As a conclusion, the article states “The Wiesenthal Center will make public its top 10 list of antisemitic and anti-Israel cases in December [2017].”


  • On August 28, 2017, Berlin’s daily “Der Tagesspiegel” reported about Mueller’s “Hostile omissions” not to counter BDS. The headline of the news article on page 7: “The Simon Wiesenthal Center is considering to place the Governing Mayor on his anti-Semitism list”.


  • On September 6, 2017, Mayor Mueller said in a statement published through The Central Council of Jews in Germany that “BDS stands with antisemitic signs in front of Berlin businesses. Those are intolerable methods from the Nazi period. We will do everything possible to withdraw money and rooms for BDS’s anti-Israel agitation.”

    Normally, Mayor Mueller communicates his statements through the Office of the Governing Mayor at the Senate Chancellery of Berlin. But this one statement was released through The Central Council of Jews. To my knowledge, it is the first statementMayor Mueller which announces to counter BDS.


  • On the same day, the Wiesenthal Center’s Communications Department in Los Angeles published a press release “Wiesenthal Center Applauds Berlin Mayor for Denouncing Boycott Campaigns Against State of Israel“. It says that the “Center is applauding Michael Mueller, the Mayor of Berlin, for unequivocally condemning the BDS movement and other boycott campaigns against the State of Israel and pledging to halt city support for the movement.“

    Rabbi Cooper said “The mayor showed true leadership in denouncing BDS for what it is: an anti-Semitic, anti-peace campaign. He has emphatically added his important voice to the global efforts to defeat extremists dedicated to the demise of the Jewish state.”



  • One week later, on September 12, 2017, Mayor Mueller received Israel’s ambassador to Germany. The Ambassador presented to the Governing Mayor his expectation of the city of Berlin „to consistently deny BDS activities and to fight any boycott attempts against the State of Israel. The most important means of prevention is and remains education.“

    Mayor Mueller replied to Israel’s ambassador: „We will continue to exhaust all legal remedies and requirements against anti-Semitic events such as the annual Al Quds march and consistently prosecute violations of law and strengthen the fight against anti-Semitism in Berlin schools.“


  • Two months later on November 7, 2017, Mayor Mueller’s Secretary of State Sawsan Chebli invited the director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Berlin to the first meeting of Berlin’s working group against anti-Semitism. It is assumed that the AJC uses this working group to counter BDS as the AJC says about his priority objective: „AJC battles the insidious BDS movement on multiple fronts. AJC exposes the sinister reality of the BDS movement. We spearhead anti-BDS legislation at all levels of government and rally elected officials to reject the boycott movement. AJC combats the efforts of BDS extremists by engaging thought leaders in every segment of society that BDS targets.“


  • On a photo shot a the AJC Global Forum 2017 in Washington, D.C Hilton Hotel, Secretary Chebli is wearing an AJC badge and is smiling in front of a world map which shows all AJC offices around the globe, among them the one in Berlin. Chebli comments the photo on her official Facebook page saying she is „Feeling good.“

Impressions of the first day of the AJC Global Forum 2017 with Düzen Tekkal, Sergey Lagodinsky, Benny Fischer from EUJS…

Posted by Sawsan Chebli on Sonntag, 4. Juni 2017


  • On January 4, 2018, the Wiesenthal Center released its “2017 Top Ten List Of Worst Global Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Incidents”. Topping the list is the “Unite The Right” rally where radicals including Klansmen, “White Nationalists”, neo-Nazis and others converged on the University of Virginia, chanting “The Jews Will Not Replace Us” among other slogans.

The Top 10 List also includes:

• University campuses

• Jew Hatred from North American Imams

• Anti-Semitism in soccer

• Dyke March in Chicago


  • The Top 10 List does not include Mayor Mueller as “Berliner Morgenpost” correctly reported on September 7, 2017.



Written by Martin Lejeune


How Berlin started to counter BDS in 2017

Ein Gedanke zu „How Berlin started to counter BDS in 2017

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