For the first time, a U.S. official has called on German banks to close the accounts of organizations that promote anti-Israel boycotts.
By World Israel News Staff
United States Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell issued a call this week to German banks to stop providing services to organizations that support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel.
According to Grenell, German banks should “cut ties with all organizations linked to the BDS movement” based on a parliamentary resolution condemning the movement and calling on Germany’s federal government to stand against it, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“Organizations and people that undermine Israel’s security should be condemned,” Grenell told the Post.
Grenell spoke to the Israeli outlet after it reported on an account in the German Bank for Social Economy (Bank für Sozialwirtschaft) registered to a BDS group called “Jewish Voice for a Fair Peace in the Middle East,” which was identified as anti-Semitic by the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
While a number of German banks have already shuttered BDS organizations’ accounts, the Bank of Social Economy has resisted pleas by the Israeli government, German-based organizations and American Jewish groups to do so.
Other German banks that have heeded the call to sever ties with BDS groups include Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Postbank, German PayPal and DAB Bank.
To ramp up pressure on the German Bank for Social Economy, one of the bank’s shareholders, an organization called the Central Welfare Board of Jews in Germany (ZWST), has been requested to divest from the bank.
Among the organizations that called on the bank to stop working with BDS groups are the German-Israel Friendship Society and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.