Swiss parliamentarians are trying to roll back a measure targeting the pro-Palestinian campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
Back in March, the National Council, the lower house of the Swiss parliament, passed an anti-BDS bill that was put forward by the right-wing People’s Party.
But now, the Council of State, or the foreign affairs committee of the upper house, has stripped all references to BDS and the Middle East from the text.
The upper house intends to debate the amended measure in May.
The bill urged the government to ban any funding to nongovernmental groups “implicated in racism, anti-Semitism, incitement to hatred or BDS campaigns.”
Palestinians protested last month against the measure outside the Swiss diplomatic mission in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.
A far-right group, NGO Monitor, welcomed the bill and claimed credit for “providing details on the Swiss government’s funding of organizations that propagate anti-peace, anti-normalization, BDS and one-state policies.”
Swiss foreign minister Didier Burkhalter has said that no changes to the law are needed and sufficient safeguards and accountability already exist.
“Switzerland does not support organizations that incite hatred or racism. It does not associate with BDS-type movements,” Burkhalter told parliament.
Israel supports government crackdowns on BDS movement in various countries.