Sunday, 16 June 2019

In calling BDS ‘anti-Semitic’ the Bundestag has projected German guilt over the Holocaust onto the Palestinians

From the Greens to the neo-Nazis (AfD), from the Social Democrats to the Christian Democrats there was unanimity – a Boycott of Israeli Apartheid is 'anti-Semitic'

Two months ago I attended a War on Want meeting where Ronnie Kassrills, the Jewish founder of the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, described how Vienna’s Council had unanimously decided to prevent him speaking on Council property.
From the Green Party to the neo-Nazi Freedom Party there was unanimity that a Jewish anti-Zionist and a veteran of the Anti-Apartheid Struggle in South Africa should not be allowed to speak. Even neo-Nazis are signed up to the Zionist definition of ‘anti-Semitism’! So we have the obscene spectacle, in the city where Hitler spent his most formative period, that a party created by and which harbour open neo-Nazis, can nonetheless ban a Jewish founder of the Anti-Apartheid struggle for ‘anti-Semitism’?
In May 19th in the German Bundestag the same obscene spectacle was repeated. Alternatives for Germany, which contains many neo-Nazis, voted alongside the Green and Social Democratic parties, to condemn BDS although it would appear that some members of Die Grunen had a conscience and abstained.
This is an acceptable price to pay for German political and commercial relations with Israel
The fake ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign is not just a British Labour Party but a growing European phenomenon.  Everywhere from the United States to France and Hungary, anti-Semites are trying to outlaw solidarity with the Palestinians in the name of ‘anti-Semitism’. We have the absurdity of the most racist and anti-Semitic President of the United States in living memory condemning Ilhan Omar and Rashid Tlaib for supporting BDS!
Truly we live in the world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice :
People may recall the exchange in Through the Looking Glass:
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
Yitzhak Laor, Israel’s greatest poet wrote in his book The Myths of Liberal Zionism:
 Why now. Why the contemporary concern with the Jewish genocide… compared to its treatment in the period immediately after the Second World War?’
His answer was that this was about
‘consolidating a new ideology of exclusion. Now it is the Jews who are the insiders… the genocide and the Jews served in the construction of a European identity…’
Not only are Jews the insiders but the memory of the Holocaust has been twisted and distorted as a justification for Western support for Israel and imperialism in the Middle East. In short the most barbaric act of German imperialism is now used to justify the barbarism of western imperialism.
Israel is seen by the European far-Right as the last defence against Islam. In the words of Dutch fascist Geert Wilders ‘If Jerusalem falls into the hands of the Muslims, Athens and Rome will be next.’ For Germany coming to terms with the Holocaust has been seen in terms of uncritical support of Israel as a ‘Jewish’ state.
The irony is that Israel from its formation modelled its settler-colonial model on Prussian militarism and colonisation. Instead of drawing the lesson from the Nazi era that racism and racial supremacy should be opposed, the German state has given carte blanche to an Israeli state which is the embodiment of Prussian militarism. 
Indeed the Israeli state, with its segregation between Jew and non-Jew, is the embodiment of Nazi values. If one looks at the period from 1933-39 then the parallels between Israel and Nazi Germany are uncanny not least in the Nuremburg Laws of 1935 which the Zionists alone in the Jewish community welcomed.
Eugenics played a key role in Nazi Germany. The Holocaust began in 1939 with the extermination of the disabled. Six killing centres were set up and gas trucks, which were later used in the first concentration camp Chelmno, began their operations. In Israel conscious attempts to ‘improve’ the Jewish ‘race’ were undertaken by Arthur Ruppin through selective Jewish immigration.
In the 1950’s thousands of babies of Yemenite parents were simply stolen and transferred to Ashkenazi parents in the belief that the latter would improve the children. It is a scandal which has been smouldering for over half a century. See for example The Disappeared Children of Israel.
Far from the German Bundestag rejecting the values of Hitlerism, by their actions they have endorsed the perpetuation of those values in the hands of the Israeli state.  If Israel, the Jewish state, can act like Germans once did, then the logical conclusion is that perhaps the Nazi period wasn’t so bad after all.  That is a message that the AfD and Austria’s Freedom Party understand too well.
When the Chief Rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu issues an edict banning the renting of apartments to Arabs and when criticised his actions are endorsed by dozens of other rabbis, or when Jewish mobs chant ‘death to the Arabs’ it is clear that the values of German ethno-nationalism have been transformed into Jewish ethno-nationalism.
It is a sign of the abject cowardice of the Greens and SPD that they have nothing to say about the virulent racism of the Israeli state. What part of the house demolitions, the ethnic cleansing or the shooting of unarmed demonstrators do they not understand?
It is Israelis themselves who recognise that Israel’s ethno-nationalism are symbolic of the era of fascism.
Zeev Sternhell, a former Professor at the Hebrew University and a world authority on fascism, as well as being a child survivor of the Holocaust, In Israel, Growing Fascism and a Racism Akin to Early Nazism spoke of a
toxic ultra-nationalism that has evolved here, the kind whose European strain almost wiped out a majority of the Jewish people.’
He is not alone. Other Israelis including Daniel Blatman, a Holocaust researcher and chief historian at the new Warsaw Ghetto museum and Ofer Casif, a Hebrew University lecturer and newly elected MK for Hadash, argued that Israel today is similar to early Nazi Germany.
Even in Latvia, over 90% of whose Jewish population were murdered, the Boycott of Nazi Germany was effective
Members of the German Bundestag are probably unaware that when the Nazis took power in 1933, they were met with a worldwide Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany. Just like now, the ruling classes railed at this interference with free trade and the Nazi state initiated legal proceedings in countries like Latvia. The Zionists did their best to undermine the boycott agreeing reaching their own trade agreement Ha'avara, with the Nazis.
Boycott is a peaceful tactic which has been used in countless struggles against oppression – from the boycott of slave grown sugar in the West Indies to the struggle of tenant farmers in Ireland to the boycott of Apartheid in South Africa – The decision of the German state today to attack BDS is an attack on the oppressed. 
The German establishment, from the Greens to the AfD, may pretend that they are opposing anti-Semitism but in reality they are supporting a Jewish supremacist state which owes much to the Nazi period. 
As the organisation Palästina Spricht - Palestine Speaks put it, We call on the German government to fight racism and apartheid – not those who oppose them and went on to ask
‘What message does Germany send when it protects a violent military power that in the past year alone had indiscriminately killed over 450 Palestinians, while at the same time condemning a non-violent movement that merely demands that Israel abides by its obligations under international law?’
The decision of the Bundestag and its conflation of Zionism and Judaism disregards the long history of Jewish opposition to Zionism, as well as ignoring the numerous Jewish individuals and organizations who either support BDS or defend its legitimacy.
The implicit suggestion that Israel represents the values of the Jews of the pre-Holocaust era is an insult to those who died.  As Yoav Rinon wrote Neither Israel's nor Germany's Slide Into Fascism Was Accidental.
It may be painful for German legislators to understand, but a state that demolishes Palestinian homes in order erect Jewish homes in their place owes more to the Nazis than those who suffered under them.
Rion wrote that
few would deny that modern German identity has had a central role in the formulation of Jewish-Israeli identity, especially in light of the Holocaust and its key impact on the past of the two peoples.
Using a psychological analogy he described how A battered child often turns into a battering parent, and what applies on the personal level is also valid on the national one.’
Professor  Sara  Roy wrote an Open Letter, On equating BDS and anti-Semitism: a letter to the German government:
If your history has imposed a burden and an obligation upon you, it is to defend justice not Israel. This is what Judaism, not Zionism, demands. Your obligation does not lie in making Israel or the Jewish people special or selectively excusing injustice because Jews happen to be committing it; it lies in holding Israel and Jews to the same ethical and moral standards that you would demand of any people, including yourselves.
Your sense of guilt, if that is the correct word, should not derive from criticizing Israel. It should reside in remaining silent in the face of injustice as so many of your forebears did before, during and after the Holocaust.
I lost a large extended family to fascism and racism. By endorsing the motion that alleges that BDS is anti-Semitic—regardless of one’s position on BDS—you are criminalizing the right to free speech and dissent and those who choose to exercise it, which is exactly how fascism takes root. You also trivialize and dishonor the real meaning of anti-Semitism. Sincerely,
Zionist campaign against Brian Klug in 2013
The Bundestag vote has been felt in a renewed Zionist attack on Berlin’s Jewish Museum. This is an institution that the Zionists have long detested as it isn’t under their control. Zionism has not only colonised Palestine but Jewish communities and their institutions in the diaspora.  The Jewish museum of  Berlin is an exception.
In 2013, the non-Zionist British lecturer Brian Klug delivered a thoughtful lecture What Do We Mean When We Say ‘Antisemitsm’? Echoes of shattering glass on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht. There was an immediate Zionist response. A group calling themselves ‘International scholars and authors under the auspices of The Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA) compiled a Dossier on Brian Klug.  And what a collection of scholars it was.  It was headed by Gerald Steinberg of the McCarthyite NGO Monitor, which spends its time attacking Israeli human rights organisations, junk historian Ephraim Karsh, [I recommend Benny Morris’s review of Karsh’s book Fabricating Israeli Histor: The New ‘Historians’ in Journal of Palestine Studies Vol. 27 No. 2 Winter 1998] Sam Westrup, ‘Senior Fellow’ of the virulently Islamaphobic Gatestone Institute whose Wikipedia entry describes it in these terms: Gatestone is anti-Muslim. The organization has attracted attention for publishing false articles and being a source of viral falsehoods.’ Another ‘scholar’ was Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar, whose main claim to fame is advocating the rape of Palestinian women in war as a deterrent to ‘terrorists’.  These ‘scholars’ even extended to our own hoodlums, Jonathan Hoffman and Richard Millet!
Their leader Clemens Heni wrote in The Times of Israel that ‘Brian Klug is among the worst choices for a keynote speaker’ because ‘he denies that there is a new antisemitism.’ There is a good riposte to this in Mondoweiss Klug targeted by McCarthyite ‘dossier’– because he will speak on anti-Semitism in Berlin on Kristallnacht anniversary.’
In other words Brian Klug should have been banned because he was not prepared to say that anti-Zionism was anti-Semitism. Such is the value that Zionism accords to freedom of speech
Now the cudgels have been taken up again because of a pro-BDS tweet that apparently emanated from someone at the Jewish Museum. See 'Anti-Jewish' Museum in Berlin under fire for supporting BDS
Other sins include that fact that in 2012 ‘the Jewish Museum hosted a podium discussion with US academic Judith Butler, who renewed her calls to boycott Israel.’ Clearly this is a call for the neo-Nazis and Greens in the Bundestag to take the kind of action Hitler would have approved and close down a cultural and academic institution which Gerald Steinberg has described as the “anti-Jewish Museum”.
Gideon Levy in Ha’aretz wrote In Germany, a Non-violent Struggle Against War Crimes Could Be Declared Illegal that if the German government adopted the Bundestag resolution to outlaw the BDS movement, then there would be nothing to equal it in any democracy.
‘Branding BDS as anti-Semitic... Fighting anti-Semitism solves any problems associated with explaining Israel’s actions. Just say “anti-Semitism” and the world is paralyzed. One can kill children in Gaza, then say “anti-Semitism!” and squelch any criticism. Europe is still vulnerable on this. Exploit it to the hilt.
It’s hard to believe that the hundreds of Bundestag members who voted for this resolution, which defines a completely legitimate struggle as anti-Semitic, actually agreed with it. One may assume that deep inside, many harbor doubts if not opposition to a move that was imposed on them. It’s not only in Germany. In most European countries it’s difficult to criticize Israel without being accused of anti-Semitism.
Rather than slaying the dragon of racism and fascism the Green, Social Democratic and Die Linke (who put forward their own motion) have given a boost to the forces of racism and fascism. One hopes that these hypocrites and ignoramuses take on board the fact that Netanyahu has no greater friend than Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban for whom the pro-Nazi leader of war-time Hungary, Admiral Horthy was an ‘exceptional statesman’
One thing is for sure, German politicians today and the cowards who inhabit the Bundestag are anything but exceptional statesmen. They are much the same cowards who in 1933 voted for the Enabling Act thus ushering in the personal dictatorship of Hitler.
Below is a message from Prof. Amos Goldberg of the Dep of js History at the Hebrew University and Yaara Benger Alaluf of Berlin’s Max Planck Institute.
If any of you would be willing to send a short message of support to the Jewish Museum, this would be highly appreciated. Their e-mail address is: info@jmberlin.de.
Please direct it to Peter Schäfer, the director of the museum. The museum’s website is www.jmberlin.de.
You may also want to support the museum by retweeting or posting on Facebook JMB’s tweet referring to our call: https://twitter.com/jmberlin/status/1136633875411755010.
Furthermore, please consider contributing to the several discussions on twitter, of which you find links below.
These are simple steps but might be highly influential.
Thank you for your continued support, which is highly appreciated!
Kind regards,
Prof. Amos Goldberg                          Yaara Benger Alaluf
Department of Jewish History             Center for the History of Emotions,
and Contemporary Jewry                    Max Planck Institute for Human
Hebrew University, Jerusalem,            Development, Berlin


In an article Berlin Jewish Museum Director Resigns After Tweet Supporting BDS Freedom of Speech Haaretz reported that the Jewish Museum’s Director, Peter Schafter, had resigned. ‘days after it was criticized for endorsing a petition against a parliamentary motion defining anti-Israel boycotts as anti-Semitic and banning the boycott movement from using public buildings.’ ‘ Schafter’s resignation came ‘after Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff called the museum’s sharing of the petition “shameful.” 


The petition, asserting that "boycotts are a legitimate and nonviolent tool of resistance," was signed by 240 Jewish intellectuals including Avraham Burg and Eva Illouz, who called on the German government not to adopt the motion, to protect freedom of speech.
Ha’aretz reported that ‘Last year, it was reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded from Chancellor Angela Merkel that Germany stop funding the museum because it had held an exhibition about Jerusalem, “that presents a Muslim-Palestinian perspective.” Merkel was asked to halt funding to other organizations as well, on grounds that they were anti-Israel, among them the Berlin International Film Festival, pro-Palestinian Christian organizations, and the Israeli news website +972, which receives funding from the Heinrich Böll Foundation.
Netanyahu did not deny the report and his bureau confirmed that he had raised “with various leaders the issue of funding Palestinian and Israeli groups and nonprofit organizations that depict the Israel Defense Forces as war criminals, support Palestinian terrorism and call for boycotting the State of Israel.”
The Bundestag’s motion last month marked the first time a European parliament had officially defined the BDS movement as anti-Semitic. The motion, which is a call to the government and isn’t legally binding, won broad multiparty support from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the Social Democrats and the Free Democratic Party. Some members of the Greens Party also supported the motion, though others abstained at the last minute. The motion stated that the BDS movement’s “Don’t Buy” stickers on Israeli products evoke the Nazi slogan “Don’t buy from Jews.”
One wonders at the gutlessness of a German government that wasn’t capable of telling Netanyahu to take a running jump, preferably into a stretch of deep water.
 The Bundestag motion, passed with broad multiparty support last month, has drawn wide opposition, including from Jewish intellectuals
 Haaretz, 11 June 2019, Noa Landau
 The German government is examining whether to adopt a motion by its parliament that defines the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement as anti-Semitic and bans it from use of public buildings – and how such a decision would affect German funding to groups that support the movement.
 Haaretz has learned that Israel and various public diplomacy groups are pressuring Germany to adopt the motion, stirring strong disagreements among government ministries. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bureau has yet to decide on an official position.
 German sources told Haaretz that the country’s Interior Ministry, led by the commissioner for battling anti-Semitism Felix Klein, generally supports the motion, while the Foreign Ministry opposes it. Foreign Ministry officials recently told journalists that they oppose a boycott of Israel, but that the BDS movement includes a broad spectrum of positions and each instance and organization must be examined individually to determine if it’s anti-Semitic.
 The Bundestag’s motion last month marked the first time a European parliament had officially defined the BDS movement as anti-Semitic. The motion, which is a call to the government and isn’t legally binding, won broad multiparty support from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the Social Democrats and the Free Democratic Party. Some members of the Greens Party also supported the motion, though others abstained at the last minute. The motion stated that the BDS movement’s “Don’t Buy” stickers on Israeli products evoke the Nazi slogan “Don’t buy from Jews.”
 Last week, 240 Jewish intellectuals published a petition against the Bundestag’s motion, saying “boycotts are a legitimate and nonviolent tool of resistance.” The signatories, among them Avraham Burg and Eva Illouz, called on the German government not to adopt the motion, to protect freedom of speech and continue funding of Israeli and Palestinian organizations “that peacefully challenge the Israeli occupation, expose severe violations of international law and strengthen civil society. These organizations defend the principles and values at the heart of liberal democracy and rule of law, in Germany and elsewhere. More than ever, they need financial support and political backing.”
The Jewish Museum in Berlin shared the petition on Twitter, generating an online backlash. Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff called the museum’s sharing of the petition “shameful.”
 Last year, it was reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded from Merkel that Germany stop funding the museum because it had held an exhibition about Jerusalem, “that presents a Muslim-Palestinian perspective.” Merkel was asked to halt funding to other organizations as well, on grounds that they were anti-Israel, among them the Berlin International Film Festival, pro-Palestinian Christian organizations, and the Israeli news website +972, which receives funding from the Heinrich Böll Foundation.
 Netanyahu did not deny the report and his bureau confirmed that he had raised “with various leaders the issue of funding Palestinian and Israeli groups and nonprofit organizations that depict the Israel Defense Forces as war criminals, support Palestinian terrorism and call for boycotting the State of Israel.”

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