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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.

Lillian Rosengarten

Lillian Rosengarten is author of the book “Survival and Conscience: From The Shadow Of Nazi Germany To The Jewish Boat To Gaza."(October 2015, Just World Books) It has been published in German. (Zambon 7/14). She can be contacted through her website,

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8 Responses

  1. pabelmont on September 10, 2015, 9:51 am

    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 a people. It might be erroneous, but is not the stuff of mindlessness. A single person can, rightly or wrongly, be named a criminal, and so can a group, even a large group, of people. But even if in error, the accusation need not be mindless or proceed from hatred or the like.

    In this case, calling Israel an ethnic-cleanser, racist, and governed (at least in part) by apartheid is not mindless and is not, IMO, in error. Especially, it is no antisemitic, and does not accuse ALL JEWS of anything (whether or not in error).


    • Bandolero on September 10, 2015, 10:39 am

      The extremist Jerusalem Post agitator Benjamin Weinthal has been a topic here at Mondo Weiss already a couple of times:

    • JLewisDickerson on September 10, 2015, 12:02 pm

      REVEALING MY (VERY ADVANCED) AGE: I can remember back when the “Jerusalem Post” was a very good newspaper (before it was taken over by Conrad Black’s Hollinger Inc. in the late 1980s and became a right-wing rag).

      • RockyMissouri on September 11, 2015, 1:00 pm

        Will happen to the National Geographic now that Rupert Murdoch has purchased it!! Think of it: He can use the magazine for his OWN DEVICES…

        “To promote the further exploitation of our troubled planet: Fracking is good for everyone!! No such thing as climate change!! Water and air quality? Myths of liberal lies.. Deforestation is good for us AND the planet.. Coal is the FUTURE.!” SNARK.

        But you see how he would do it. I am beyond broken-hearted. I feel as if a trust has been betrayed in the cruelest of ways.

    • ziusudra on September 13, 2015, 2:28 am

      Greetings pabelmont,
      It makes me giggle to think that Anti-anything or Goy still have power to stop anyone.
      It is pro vs contra in any free society to voice an opinion.
      This handsome woman spoke out for democracy for both peoples in palestine.
      How does that change anything by simply annointing her as an antisemite? An antisemite has the same right as an philosemite.
      I’m an philosemite of all 300 mn semites surrounding Israel.
      I’m anti euro zionists in Israel & anti euro christian zionists in the US.
      PS I am anti ideologies: Zionism, IS -Islam, US hegemony, Catholic hegemony, Evangelical hegemony.

  2. JLewisDickerson on September 10, 2015, 12:13 pm

    Ms. Rosengarten is incredibly brave! ! !
    I am in awe of her integrity.

    “Israeli diplomat in Berlin: Maintaining German guilt about Holocaust helps Israel” | By Nir Gontarz | | 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 full normalization of relations between the governments.

    Embassy spokeswoman Adi Farjon made the comments in a closed briefing session with journalists at the embassy.

    “We were all in shock,” said a female journalist present at the briefing. “The spokeswoman clearly said it was an Israeli interest to maintain German guilt feelings. She even said that without them, we’d be just another country as far as they’re concerned.”

    Others present at the event confirmed the journalist’s account.

    Some added that the Israeli ambassador himself, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, was present for some of the briefing, as were other embassy workers who don’t speak Hebrew. Another journalist commented, “It was so awkward. We couldn’t believe our ears. We’re sitting there eating peanuts, and behind the spokeswoman there are two German women sitting there who don’t understand a word of Hebrew – and the embassy staff is telling us they’re working to preserve the German guilt feelings and that Israel has no interest in normalization of relations between the two countries.”

    “I don’t remember saying that,” Farjon told Haaretz in response. “I can’t vouch for any particular quote, she added. “It was an off-the-record conversation, a briefing talk. The way I speak with Israeli journalists is a little different. These things aren’t intended to get out. I can’t reveal the principles I work by. For example, I don’t say who I go to in order to get good stories out here, or who I pay for things like that.” . . .


    P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Israel Sees Nazism in Mirror it Mistakes for Window”
    Posted on July 26, 2015 by David Swanson
    LINK –

  3. Citizen on September 11, 2015, 4:56 am

    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.

  4. Elizabeth Block on September 11, 2015, 4:12 pm

    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 anti-semite. Lillian is in good company.

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