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Letter to the mayor of Frankfurt, from a refugee of that city

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The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign is facing opposition in Germany. Last month under pressure from the Israel lobby, a pro-BDS speech was cancelled in Bonn, and a June conference commemorating 50 years of occupation and featuring pro-BDS speakers lost its venue. Lillian Rosengarten, author of the memoir Survival and Conscience, was born in Frankfurt and escaped the Holocaust. She wrote this letter to Frankfurt’s mayor.

Dear Mayor Uwe Becker.

As a German Jew, I am ashamed.

Zionism has always equated any criticism with anti-Semitism, delegitimization or worse. It serves as propaganda to maintain the illusion of Jews as “victims.” Ultra Nationalists who believe in their moral superiority create political terror in order to silence and deny.

Who could imagine in 1945 following the defeat of Nazi Germany, there would be within a few short years a bizarre escalation, a toxic spread of anti-Semitism inflamed in part by a country with two faces. One face claims to be “the only Democracy in the Middle East” while the other face engages in an agenda embracing a genocidal occupation that spans across three generations of Palestinian children born in captivity. This is the face of Zionism with its dream of a Jewish State for Jews only, “Palestinians not allowed.” There is an alter ego where truth breaks through all forms of denial. A painful truth that many are still unable to accept as a viable reality. It is the agenda of Israeli Zionism that inflicts the horrors of disenfranchisement and genocide onto an entire population of Palestinians, unwanted, hated and considered “inferior.”

It is impossible for this German Jew to avoid a comparison between Israeli Zionists’ unwillingness to embrace the humanity of Palestinians as human beings like themselves with aspects of the Nazi quest for a racially-pure Germany.

Who would have imagined following the end of World War 2, how once again emotional manipulation akin to domestic terrorism, could successfully create a new culture of fear and hysteria strategically targeting Jews? What is tapped is deeply imbedded hysteria that lives dormant within Jewish consciousness. It is here where fears of annihilation and victimization wait once again to be ignited. Zionist intention is to gather Jews from around the world to support and live in the “Jewish State,” using this powerful message of indoctrination. We have heard it spoken: a Jewish state is the only place on earth where Jews can be safe and no longer victims.

I cannot be this Jew. As a refugee [from Nazi Germany], I identify with the homeless displaced Palestinians, refugees forced to flee from their land and homes to be occupied, destroyed and surrounded by prisons, walls, checkpoints armed soldiers and illegal settlements. Because Zionism in 1948 was founded on a racist ideology of the superiority of “chosen people,” I must raise some obvious questions.

Do Jews who have themselves been victimized, have the moral right to occupy and disenfranchise another people? Why have they learned nothing? More pressing for the moment, how could it happen that anti-Semitism is used to defend the Zionist agenda? There exists deep psychological implications to be explored, studied, written about and discussed openly in order to bring light to an unbearable moral abyss.

I believe to argue whether anti-Semitism exists or does not exists is a spurious issue lest we fall into a trap and lose our focus. The rise of anti-Semitism is real. We cannot to pretend there is no true anti-Semitism. It is spreading along with Islamophobia. Perhaps Zionism itself is anti-Semitic for it discriminates against Semites and includes Jews themselves. Zionism is not a religion but a political movement. Working for justice and the end of the occupation is not anti-Semitic.

I ask you Mayor Becker, to rethink your allegiance to Zionist Israel without also understanding the struggle of the Palestinian People to live in freedom and with dignity. Israel can only be free when Palestinians are free.

I will be in Frankfurt mid August and would love to meet you. Dialogue and listening to one another is important in a free society.

I want to hear from you.

Lillian Rosengarten (geb. Gisela Lebrecht)


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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4 Responses

  1. AddictionMyth on April 27, 2017, 1:03 pm

    Zionists are very anti-Semitic and I’ve been the target of it many times – nor have they ever apologized or even acknowledged it. I have never experienced anti-Semitism from any other group. Thank you for speaking out against it.

  2. eljay on April 27, 2017, 1:30 pm

    My continuing respect to you, Ms. Rosengarten.

  3. JLewisDickerson on April 29, 2017, 4:04 am

    RE: “The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign is facing opposition in Germany. Last month under pressure from the Israel lobby, a pro-BDS speech was cancelled in Bonn, and a June conference commemorating 50 years of occupation and featuring pro-BDS speakers lost its venue [i.e., in Frankfurt] . . .”

    MY COMMENT: First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin, Bonn and Frankfurt!

    SEE: “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.” . . .


    • JLewisDickerson on April 29, 2017, 4:10 am

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Gunter the Terrible”, By Uri Avnery, The Palestine Chronicle, 4/13/12

      [EXCERPT] Stop me if I have told you this joke before:
      Somewhere in the US, a demonstration takes place. The police arrive and beat the protesters mercilessly.
      “Don’t hit me,” someone shouts, “I am an anti-communist!”
      “I couldn’t give a damn what kind of a communist you are!” a policeman answers as he raises his baton.
      The first time I told this joke was when a German group visited the Knesset and met with German-born members, including me.
      They went out of their way to praise Israel, lauding everything we had been doing, condemning every bit of criticism, however harmless it might be. It became downright embarrassing
      , since some of us in the Knesset were very critical of our government’s policy in the occupied territories.
      For me, this extreme kind of pro-Semitism is just disguised anti-Semitism. Both have a basic belief in common: that Jews – and therefore Israel – are something apart, not to be measured by the standards applied to everybody else. . .



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