Culture

Germany comes face to face with ‘a Jew against Zionism’

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Next month, Just World Books will publish Lillian Rosengarten’s wrenching memoir, Survival and Conscience, which traces the legacy of the Holocaust inside her immigrant family leading up to her decision to go to Gaza on the Jewish boat three years ago. She is now touring her birthplace, Germany, to talk about her book. The Jerusalem Post has covered the tour, and stated that it is anti-Semitic to accuse Israel of  “ethnic cleansing,” “racism” and “apartheid.” Rosengarten sent this report earlier this week. –Editor.

I have given three talks in Germany so far and the whole experience is fascinating if not surreal. The first was in Darmstadt. My appearance to speak at an Episcopalian church was cancelled because the folks there googled me and decided I was an  anti-Semitic Jew (imagine that) because they believed I, as an anti-Zionist was against a Jewish state of Israel and therefore I was also an anti-Semite.  I ended up speaking in an old theater attended by about 60 people. “A Jew Against Zionism.” The audiences are fascinated. Although they are German-Palestinian activists, some  fear that to  break the silence against Israeli human rights abuses will be labeled  anti-Semitic as the Zionists spin their propaganda.  The German Jewish population here are strong Zionists and support a Jewish only State of Israel. To hear a German-born Jew against Zionism is a unique experience for them.

I tell my very personal story (yes in German) and have a straightforward message. Speaking out against human rights abuses is not anti-Semitic as the Zionists want people to believe. Ending the occupation must happen and can only occur from an outside strong push and resistance by the United Nations, European Union, United States (hopefully), churches and BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions). Palestinians and Jews must live together with equal rights in a Palestine/Israel state. There can be no Jewish State only. There is no other way. It will not change from inside as Israel is satisfied only to have a Jewish state.

With these statements and my tale of woe from voiceless to strong voice for peace and justice for Palestinians, I end by saying no peace for Israel is possible until Palestinians are free.

Two Jews demonstrated ahead of time against my talk Sunday night saying I am an anti-Semite. Yes, it is Jew against Jew.

It is fascinating for me to observe the shift in the audience, the willingness to confront their fear  of the label anti-Semite, as I show in my story my lack of fear in my refusal  to accept such a label and to say “No, I am NOT an anti-Semite,” when I  stand up for an end to the sordid occupation and suppression of Palestinian human rights.

Many people have come up to me to thank me for showing my willingness to resist without fear. Fear is a big factor in Germany, for those who speak out are quickly labeled ant-Semites or Nazis. The German Jewish Community are the most radical Zionists. Yesterday a prominent Jewish doctor wrote to the museum where I spoke today to tell them it is a disgrace to allow a person to speak who is clearly an ant-Semite. These folks do not come to hear me, although I would welcome a dialogue.

Quite amazing there is a fairly long article about my talk, from a very positive perspective in the Heidelberg  Sunday newspaper.  This is a surprise. In addition I will be videotaped for the second time and seem to be having an effect because my talk is so personal.

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Jerusalem Post is kookoo. Even if (which it, if it even exists, didn’t) the entire Jewish People had done what Israeli and pre-Israeli terrorists and army had done in Palestine 1945-50, it would not be “antisemitic” to describe those acts and name them as “ethnic cleansing” and to name Israel today as (on its Jewish part at least) “racist” and on its occupation-part, at least, “apartheid”. Naming a crime is not a mindless slur against… Read more »

Ms. Rosengarten is incredibly brave! ! ! I am in awe of her integrity. P.S. SPEAKING OF INTEGRITY (I.E., A LACK THEREOF), SEE: “Israeli diplomat in Berlin: Maintaining German guilt about Holocaust helps Israel” | By Nir Gontarz | Haaretz.com | Jun. 25, 2015 [EXCERPT] A spokeswoman for the Israeli embassy in Berlin recently told Israeli journalists it was in the country’s interest to maintain German guilt about the Holocaust, and that it isn’t seeking… Read more »

Unscrupulous humans are more aware than anyone that there are four labels that can disrupt your foe more than any others, at least in the Western world: anti-semite, white racist, child molester, serial killer.

It’s historically ironic at least, that Germany, the apex of philosophy once upon a time–from Kant continuing for a century and a half, now cannot muster an open academic discussion of the principles behind Nazism and Zionism, including, as implemented.

Well, of course it’s in Israel’s interest to perpetuate German feelings of guilt. Why should anyone be surprised? It hardly needs to be said. The late Hajo Meier, a Holocaust survivor, was on a speaking tour a few years ago. His topic: “Never Again For Anyone.” Here in Toronto, he spoke at the Winchevsky Centre (secular left-wing Jews) and Quaker House. No synagogue would give him a platform, and some mainstream Jews called him an… Read more »