A group conducting an aggressive anti-Israel boycott campaign has its headquarters in Bremen city-owned property that has received federal funding, an investigation by The Jerusalem Post found.
“The Bremen Peace Forum has already publicly supported the BDS movement for some time. This [BDS] is nothing other than an anti-Israel, yes, anti-Semitic idea. It intolerable when such institutions are still publicly supported,” Gitta Connemann, a leading Bundestag deputy and a member of the German-Israel parliamentary group, told the Post on Thursday.
According to the Bremen Peace Forum’s website, “it is the time to boycott merchandise from Israel, some of which is produced in Israeli settlements, but also other goods that come directly from Israel.”
In an email to the Post, André Städler, the spokesman for the Social Democratic Mayor Carsten Sieling, said, “The City of Bremen, as the owner of the Villa Ichon [where the Bremen Peace Forum has its headquarters], agreed to a leasehold contract with the management company of the Villa Ichon.”
Städler said that the agreement expires in 2031 and cannot be cut short. He declined to send the Post a copy of the agreement. The spokesman said the City of Bremen condemns calls to boycott Israel.
In 2013, the Villa Ichon was embroiled in a scandal because it barred Jewish music teacher Noemi Köster and Israeli student Maor Shani from attending a lecture on anti-Semitism.
The event was organized by various peace activists and a local Left Party group.
The doorman at the event insulted Shani, who was wearing a kippa, and Köster, saying “Everything belongs to you already anyway, also the media,” the Bild newspaper reported.
Bremen is the center of anti-Israel activity in Germany.