Friday

12th Apr 2024

German bank freezes account of Jewish peace group

  • The Jewish Voice for a Just Peace argues for a just peace between Palestine and Israel (Photo: Reham Alhelsi)
Listen to article

A German state-owned bank has frozen the account of the anti-Zionist Jewish association, Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East, and demanded a list of associated members and their addresses.

In a letter the Berliner Sparkasse informed the Jewish association that it had blocked their account "out of precaution" and asked for "numerous internal documents" and a list of members to be sent to them by 5 April at the latest.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

According to the bank, this was necessary to "update our customer data", but the Jewish Voice disputed this explanation, noting in a public letter posted on their website on Wednesday (27 March) that it "sounded more like a letter sent by the intelligence service or police."

"The bank is a public organisation and may, therefore, not arbitrarily freeze accounts without providing an explanation, which it has not," the Jewish Voice wrote.

The bank did not respond despite requests for clarification. But the Jewish Voice liked the decision to freeze the account to their association with the Palestine Conference, which is taking place in Berlin from 12 to 14 April.

"The congress is financed by ticket sales and donations; we, the Jewish Voice, have made our account available for this purpose — which is why it has now been blocked," the organisation wrote.

"We will not be intimidated by this, even if we lose our account. Our position on genocide is derived from our Jewish values and is not dependent on financial resources," they added.

The congress is organised by The Left Berlin, a progressive organisation, and will host diverse speakers, including Francesca Albanese, the UN special representative for Palestine, and the former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

The international NGO Human Rights Watch has alleged that the Israeli government is using starvation and hunger as tactics of warfare in the occupied Gaza Strip, constituting a war crime. Additionally, the EU's foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, stated in a speech at the European Humanitarian Forum in Brussels last week that "Israel is provoking famine."

The International Court of Justice in the Hague already ruled in February that Israel's actions in Gaza constituted a plausible case for genocide, and ordered it to minimise civilian deaths, which now stand at more than 31,000, with more uncounted bodies suspected to still be under the rubble of Gaza's ruins.

Not the first time

It is not the first time that a bank has targeted the anti-zionist organisation.

A bank account with the Bank für Sozialwirtschaft was closed in 2019 and previously in 2016 due to their backing of the "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)" campaign, as confirmed by the bank.

These closures resulted from pressure from the Central Council of Jews in Germany and were welcomed at the time by its president, Jozef Schuster, as "long overdue."

The BDS movement calls for economic pressure on Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian land, grant Arab citizens equal rights and recognize the right of return of Palestinian refugees and was condemned by the German parliament in a 2019 vote as anti-Semitic.

This week's decision by Berlin Sparkasse was made within a context of growing "political persecution" in Germany, according to the Jewish Voice, which stated it is "collaborating with Israel's apartheid and genocide."

Borrell: 'Israel provoking famine', urges more aid access

70 percent of northern Gaza is facing famine, new data shows. There is one shower per 5,500 people, and 888 people per toilet. 'How can you live in these conditions?" asked Natalie Boucly of UNRWA at the European Humanitarian Forum.

Interview

EU should use 'all means' to end war in Gaza: Belgian minister

The EU should use "all means" possible to end the violence in Gaza, including sanctions, a peace conference, and a review of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, Belgian development cooperation minister Caroline Gennez told EUobserver.

Interview

EU should use 'all means' to end war in Gaza: Belgian minister

The EU should use "all means" possible to end the violence in Gaza, including sanctions, a peace conference, and a review of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, Belgian development cooperation minister Caroline Gennez told EUobserver.

Opinion

The Bolsonaro-Orbán far-right nexus

Defeated far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has given various reasons for sheltering at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia — none of them make sense.

Latest News

  1. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  2. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  3. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  4. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world
  5. Ukraine tops aid list again, but EU spending slumps
  6. Who did Russia pay? MEPs urge spies to give names
  7. 'PieperGate' crisis re-opens doubts on von der Leyen's future
  8. The Bolsonaro-Orbán far-right nexus

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us