A watchdog group is criticizing a letter by 240 Israeli and Jewish academics sent to the German government urging it to reject its recently passed law equating the BDS movement with anti-Semitism.

“There is no parallel in the world to this phenomenon of hypocrisy and ingratitude, in which these professors earn their living at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer yet at the same time work to boycott and slander them,” Matan Peleg, CEO of Israeli NGO Im Tirtzu.

In an open letter published in English and German on BDS Germany’s website, the academics called on the German government “not to endorse” the law, which they said “is based on the false allegation that BDS as such equals anti-Semitism.”

“We all reject the deceitful allegation that BDS as such is anti-Semitic and maintain that boycotts are a legitimate and non-violent tool of resistance,” they said.

“In addition,” they continued, “we call on the German government to maintain its direct and indirect funding of Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organisations that peacefully challenge the Israeli occupation.”

In May, some 60 Israeli and Jewish academics signed a nearly identical letter calling on the German government not to pass the law. In the original version of the letter, the academics called explicitly “not to exclude NGOs that endorse BDS from German funding.”

Signatories of the new letter included academics from a variety of publicly funded Israeli universities, including 24 academics from Hebrew University, 24 from Tel Aviv University, 11 from Ben-Gurion University, nine from Haifa University, five from the Weizmann Institute of Science and five from the Open University of Israel.

Several academics from Bar-Ilan University, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Sapir College and Ruppin Academic Center were also among the signatories.

Peleg, whose group revealed the letter, stressed the harm caused to Israel by these professors.

“While tremendous amounts of resources are invested in Israel and throughout the world to combat the international BDS movement,” continued Peleg, “these radical professors are undermining these efforts by promoting BDS from within Israel.”

“Israeli academia must immediately work to root out this severe phenomenon. The writing is on the wall,” he added.