The German branch of the Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal closed its account with the Cologne-based Bank for Social Economy (Bank für Sozialwirtschaft) because the bank refuses to shut down an account belonging to the hardcore anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace in the Middle East.
“There must be no free pass for antisemitism and hatred of Israel in Germany,” said Sammy Endzweig, the chairman of Keren Hayesod in Germany, in a statement explaining the account closure. “And only because an organization is labeled ‘Jewish’ and partly founded by Jewish people does not mean that this is the view of the Jewish community in Germany and has distanced itself from the goals of the BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] movement.”
“We cannot and will not silently watch,” said Endzweig, referring to the bank’s enabling of Jewish Voice to launch economic warfare on Israel.
“We as a pro-Israel organization, which raises money for social projects in Israel, decided after an intensive exchange with the bank to close our account with the Bank for Social Economy,” he said, adding that Keren Hayesod took its action to shut its account “after the bank reopened the account of the Jewish Voice association and retains a business relationship” with the anti-Israel group.
Keren Hayesod added that Jewish Voice acknowledges in its bylaws and published statements that it supports the BDS movement.
The pro-Israel organization flatly stated it does not believe the explanation provided by Jewish Voice to the bank that it merely wants an end to Israel’s alleged occupation of disputed territories and is not against the existence of the Jewish state.
“We hold this statement to be untrue because the association is still committed, in its bylaws, to the BDS movement,” Endzweig said.
“Jewish Voice works with a number of empty phrases that aim to mislead from its actual intentions. Whoever supports BDS embraces their goals and principles.”
Keren HaYasod said the Bank for Social Economy is the only bank in Germany that provides an account to Jewish Voice, adding that other financial institutions have rejected business with BDS-affiliated organizations.
The Bank for Social Economy has had trouble in the past before when dealing with far-left anti-Israel groups, including reopening an account with the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East in April 2017.