Brussels – 28 February 2018 – The AJC Transatlantic Institute expressed its outrage over the fact that MEP Ana Gomes (S&D) hosted BDS founder Omar Barghouti in the European Parliament.
The BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement calls for the total economic, cultural and academic boycott and sanctions against Israel and rejects a two-state solution. Barghouti and the BDS movement also openly call for the end of Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people. The IHRA Working Definition – endorsed by the European Parliament in June 2017 and several EU member states – clearly states that "denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination“ is a form of anti-Semitism.
“It is a grave assault on the dignity of the European Parliament, the Jewish communities in Europe and around the world and – not least – the Israeli-Palestinian peace process itself that Ana Gomes gave the head of the extremist BDS movement a platform in the European Parliament,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) EU office, the AJC Transatlantic Institute. “It is baffling that Mrs. Gomes would vote for a European Parliament resolution endorsing the IHRA definition and within a year of its adoption invite one of its greatest offenders.”
“The event at which Mr. Barghouti spoke was ostensibly about Israel’s settlements policy. Criticism of this or any other Israeligovernment policy is of course legitimate and – incidentally - practiced in Israel’s democracy with particular gusto. But Mr. Barghouti, whom the official invitation bizarrely identified as “His Excellency,” is not interested in dialogue, but wants to eradicate the Jewish state. Mrs. Gomes cannot have it both ways: She says she is “against #antisemitism & any form of #racism” and “against those who want to destroy #Israel“ and then share a podium with the likes of Barghouti,” Schwammenthal added.
“What’s more, Mrs. Gomes, who considers herself also a friend of the Palestinian people, has done a great disservice to the Palestinian cause and the peace process by giving a stage to an extremist activist who openly rejects the two-state solution,” Schwammenthal said. “We hope that responsible voices in the S&D Group and President Tajani will speak out against this shameful event.”