World Jewish Congress welcomes Swiss lawmakers' push to protect religious communities, end government funding of BDS

NEW YORK - World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder on Friday praised Switzerland's National Council, the lower house of parliament, for its vote to stop government funding of any organization that supports racism, anti-Semitism, or boycotts of Israel. Lauder also welcomed the unanimous decision by the Council of States, the upper house of the Swiss legislature, calling on the government to ensure that all religious communities receive adequate protection against potential terrorist threats. 

Both decisions, which Lauder called “admirable moves worthy of emulation,” still require the consent of the other house of Swiss parliament before they can go into effect.

Lauder said: “The decisions of the Swiss legislature to ensure protection of the country's religious communities against terrorist threats, and to recognize that boycotts of Israel belong in the same category as anti-Semitism and racism, are significant signs in defense of the Jewish community in Switzerland.

“The BDS movement claims to support Palestinians, but its real motivation is the delegitimization of the State of Israel. It is a movement based on the anti-Semitic denial of the Jewish people’s right to sovereignty in their own state. The Swiss parliament's push to cease government funding of organizations that support such an ideology may finally help expose the lies and hypocrisies of the BDS once and for all.

“We are encouraged by the fact that so many lawmakers chose to vote in favor of these important decisions, and look forward to seeing them go into effect after approval by the other house. We hope that other countries in Europe will  follow suit,” Lauder concluded.

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