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German Jews for Palestinian rights receive a peace prize– and are dismissed as ‘the wrong kind of Jews’

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Last week, the German organization Jewish Voice for a Just peace in the Near East received a peace prize from the city of Göttingen.

As the organization supports the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, the announcement of its nomination became a battleground, wherein prominent Jewish leaders tarnished its members as anti-Semites, suggesting that they were the ‘wrong kind of Jews’. The mayor and the president of the Göttingen university withdrew their support and cancelled the booking of halls for receptions. Nonetheless the jury stuck to its decision, and crowdfunded a prize of 28,000 Euros, which the organization will donate to human rights organizations in Palestine as well as to the liberal Israeli +972 Magazine.

This is not the first time the organization is targeted for its Palestinian solidarity. In 2016, after an incitement campaign by the Israeli government and its local supporters, the bank account of the organization was closed. This was in fact the first time in the post-WW2 era, that an account held by a Jewish organization in Germany was closed. It was explicitly explained to them that this was for political reasons – if they would rescind their support for BDS, they could reopen the account. Only after a massive protest campaign, were they allowed to reopen the account.

This is a familiar pattern in Germany, where Holocaust guilt is weaponized as a means of stifling any meaningful protest against Israel and its policies.

Iris Hefets, the chairwoman of the organization, spoke at the prize event. Below are highlights from her speech (full speech here).

Small fish in the murky waters in the pond of slander

It is a great honor to receive a prize for peace and an even greater honor to be included in this list along with these other so venerable recipients of this Göttingen Prize for Peace. In the wake of these turbulent days I can also add: it is a considerable achievement. We are probably also the only award winners who when told of the decision to grant us this award on the one hand were elated but on the other knew we were in for a bumpy ride. That we would be attacked and slandered was to be expected….

I cannot conceal the fact that the experience of being a Jew and being undesired is extremely unpleasant. During the period in which the Foundation was seeking refuge for this ceremony, we were at the same time met with so much support, recognition and gratitude that we were truly very moved and felt ourselves to be in good hands. We were not left alone and we are very appreciative of this. Our great thanks is due not only to the Foundation and the Jury but also all those people who refused to be compelled under social pressure to conform and were not conquered by fear but were undeterred in standing up for their political beliefs. Your solidarity is the oxygen for us small fish in the murky waters in the pond of slander. We are indeed especially dependent upon this commitment to democratic values.

Not in our name

Being Jewish is mark of identity and bears no further qualification in terms of political commitment or any specialized knowledge. The considerable and well-founded support which we have received in the past few days in no small part from non-Jews is evidence of this. On the other hand, the Israeli government holds us hostage when they claim to speak for all Jews worldwide. This is why we say, loudly: “Not in our name!” We are a few dozen Jews with an internet connection and a sense of guilt and shame with respect to the Palestinians and fear for the future of Israel. All our activities are documented in writing, we are a political organization and operate in the public sphere. We have nothing to hide. We are of course not neutral, neutrality serves only the oppressor. We are affected by events, they concern our children, friends and relatives. We don’t have the resources of the federal government and no newspaper, as does the Central Council for the Jews. We all do this as volunteers without pay and in addition to our professional responsibilities and our personal social lives.

The events leading up to this ceremony once again demonstrate that when one speaks of Israeli politics, at least in Germany, one is not speaking about politics but about identity. Many Germans, Jewish and non-Jewish, try to assuage their difficulties with their identities by indiscriminately identifying themselves with the state of Israel. Regardless of the policies which the Israeli government pursues, they are always on board. This is why we founded our organization, in order for us, as Jews living in Germany, to give an outlet to our voice and to exert influence upon the German civic society. This is why this prize means so much to us: to be able to speak to you and with you as Jews. This is one of the central aims of our organization and our work within it.

A familiar pattern

In Germany we repeatedly experience events which unfold according to the same pattern: the rights of the Palestinians are violated, there is political protest against it, the German press finds – or invents, as recently evidenced by the fake news – an anti-semitic incident and ultimately the subject becomes anti-semitism itself which is then acted upon and the original protest is suffocated. Trump, for example, decides to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem in violation of international law, young Palestinians protest in Berlin, a journalist from the Berliner Zeitung claims they shouted “Death to the Jew” and immediately there is talk of anti-semitism among Muslims. The fact that laborious research by the journalist Emily Dische-Becker revealed that the journalist who reported the incident does not speak or understand Arabic and that a thorough examination all film footage and audio recordings was unable to substantiate this assertion of course goes unnoticed. This is also because this view is suitable to many in this country. The new German identity has consolidated itself as “not anti-semitic” and has thus shifted Christian anti-semitism to a Muslim minority.  Thus the German past can be regarded as overcome and one can look past the NSU murderers, NPD, Pegida, Legida and the AfD (Alternative for Germany). There are of course but few Muslims among the AfD’s voters. Through this continuous shabby journalism the Jews remain the eternal victim and the Palestinians, or “Arabs” their perpetrators, while it is the Christians who are now there to “save the Jews”. This approach has been orchestrated for decades by the Israeli government and their institutions and supporters both in Israel and abroad.

Judeo-Christian Islamophobia

Israel’s Christian-oriented allies in Europe, the United States or also now in Brazil together with Israel are spreading the idea of a struggle again “Islam”. Thus the State of Israel can sell its conflict over land, rights and self-determination which it has with the Palestinians as one aspect of a larger global threat. It is then no longer a matter of Israel’s actions, the expulsion of the Palestinians, the expropriation of their property and the sealing off of Gaza. Israel’s violent expansion at the expense of the Palestinians is being reinterpreted as resistance toward the global attack of Islam. Israel is being stylized as a victim while the Palestinians have been cast as the perpetrators who are acting aggressively against Israel, supposedly because they are anti-semites, and not because they are leading a struggle for liberation. In the view of the Israeli government, this is a religious conflict which must be waged internationally and forms the basis for alliances between Israel and the radical right led by Orban, Salvini, Trump or Bolsonaro and their political parties. And if as Israel claims, this conflict is religious and lies “in the nature of Muslims”, then any agreement with the Palestinians is superfluous for this is an existential fight against “evil”.

This Judeo-Christian covenant can also be seen in Germany. Here there is talk of “Moslem anti-semitism” or “imported anti-semitism” and even a federal commissioner for anti-semitism has been created. There is no such commissioner to combat racism or Islamophobia. Such preferential treatment is of course not without its risks for the privileged minority. Dr. Felix Klein is the current “Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life and Against Anti-Semitism”. His responsibilities overlap with those of the Central Council of Jews, which in turn represents roughly half of the Jews living in Germany. Now he has as a partner a Christian civil servant. We now only need a male federal commissioner for the lives of women and to combat sexism. We members of the Jewish Voice have had the opportunity to experience this so-called “protection” from the new Federal Commissioner first hand.

In 2016 our account with the Bank for Social Economy was terminated, due to pressure from the Israeli government and its representatives in Jewish community. For the first time in the post-war era, an account held by a Jewish organization in Germany was closed and, as was explicitly explained to us, for political reasons. If we would be willing to rescind our signature beneath the BDS call, we would be able to reopen our account. A German institution, in this case a bank, can thus decide which Jews are the real ones with correct views and who would be desirable customers of the bank and which are not. Among other things, we are accused of denying Israel’s right to exist, yet many of us are Israelis. After we assured them that our concern is with the safe future of our families and friends still living there and after protests from many people and organizations in the private sector who recognized the threat to the right to freedom of expression, the bank revised its decision. However, the pressure on us from the right has not receded. The Bank for Social Economy found itself on the Top Ten List of Anti-Semites published by the Simon Wiesenthal Center because of our account with the bank. The development of this center is symptomatic for the bond between the Israeli government and the radical right which is described above. Once a renowned center which fought anti-semitism and sought out and brought Nazi war criminals to justice, after Simon Wiesenthal’s death it became a radical right-wing organization that in Israel established a museum of tolerance on the site of a Moslem cemetery and branded any criticism of Israeli politics as anti-semitism.

Testing Jews for anti-Semitism according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition

As the Bank for Social Economy was at a loss how to proceed, they had already asked the help of Dr. Felix Klein. Felix Klein, as Federal Commissioner, should really be trying to promote Jewish life, including and especially our fundamental rights to freedom of opinion and to political organization. In the case of political censorship against a minority he should have been particularly sensitive. The German civil servant Klein however recommended that a survey be taken to determine whether the members of the Jewish Voice, all of whom are Jews, are anti-semites. The standard to be used in determining this was to be the controversial definition of anti-semitism used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which for obvious reasons is propagated by the Israeli government. If the question had been left to the German commissioner for anti-semitism, the granddaughter of Jews starved in Leningrad would, for example, have been the subject a of German scientific examination as to whether or not she is an anti-semite. We refused to comply.

That’s less than half of Iris Hefets’s excellent speech. An interview with organization member (and The Real News correspondent) Shir Hever is available here.

Hefets explained in length about BDS – about its three demands, about how it “aims by non-violent means to exert pressure on Israel to turn back from its current policies and escape the destructive and self-destructive impasse into which Israel has fallen”. She noted how BDS is a means of political pressure that is aimed against a state policy and not against individuals.

She also pointed out the importance of there being Jews in this whole debate, due to German taboos:

While many citizens support our work, politicians tell us quietly and in private that we can say such things, but for them such statements would mean the end of their careers. Journalists who dare to type the word apartheid into their keyboards in connection with Israel risk being dismissed. The task of criticizing Israeli politics still falls mainly to Jews and Israelis.

This is indeed a worthy task which requires resilience and courage. Zionists and Israel apologists have been calling Jews who are critical of them ‘the wrong kind of Jews’ since before Israel was established.

This is a fight not only for the lives of Palestinians, but also for the soul of Judaism.

Although these advocacies often fall on deaf ears in Germany, drowned by the Israel-apologia of the mainstream Jewish establishment, events like these sometimes stir the necessary debate. This event garnered exceptional attention from German media, and the prize ceremony was attended by 450 people from all over Germany.

Thanks to Iris Hefets for providing a transcript of the German speech

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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11 Responses

  1. Citizen
    Citizen
    March 17, 2019, 1:51 pm

    RE: “This is a fight not only for the lives of Palestinians, but also for the soul of Judaism”

    I am waiting for one non-Jewish German with a bull horn to say, “Unless the Palestinian people are not quite human, have we Germans learned nothing from the legal principles laid down at Nuremberg? There’s an old adage, quoted by Churchill, ‘Germans are either at your throat or at your feet.’ Under Hitler, they were at the Jewish throat, & now, they are at the Zionist Jews’ feet.
    Two wrongs don’t make a right. #Germany needs to apply the great talent for nuance they have as engineers to the political arena–The world is waiting for this to sink in to the German populace enough to change their government policy of rubber-stamping & funding the state of Israel’s policies & conduct. Don’t any German intellectuals hear the clear echo of Goering’s defense at Nuremberg in Israel’s leaders? Germany should awake, even if the USA government does not.”

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson
      March 17, 2019, 9:48 pm

      RE: There’s an old adage, quoted by Churchill, ‘Germans are either at your throat or at your feet.’ ~ Citizen

      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. . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.palestinechronicle.com/gunter-the-terrible/#.UpTfHMSsh8E

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      March 18, 2019, 9:23 am

      Somewhat off topic, but an excellent read:

      https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2019/03/15/why-israel-has-no-right-to-exist/?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Why+Israel+Has+No++Right+to+Exist&utm_campaign=Why+Israel+Has+No++Right+to+Exist

      “Why Israel Has No ‘Right to Exist’” – Foreign Policy Journal, March 14/19, by Jeremy R. Hammond

      “Apologists for Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians claim the state has a ‘right to exist’ in an effort to legitimize the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

      “Zionists taking it upon themselves to try to defend Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people frequently level the charge that its critics are attempting to ‘delegitimize’ the self-described ‘Jewish state.’ Israel, they counter, has a ‘right to exist.’ But they are mistaken.

      “This is not to single out Israel. There is no such thing as a state’s ‘right to exist’, period. No such right is recognized under international law. Nor could there logically be any such right. The very concept is absurd. Individuals, not abstract political entities, have rights.

      “Individual rights may also be exercised collectively, but not with prejudice toward the rights of individuals. The relevant right in this context is rather the right to self-determination, which refers to the right of a people to collectively exercise their individual rights through political self-governance. The collective exercise of this right may not violate the individual exercise of it. The only legitimate purpose of government is to protect individual rights, and a government has no legitimacy without the consent of the governed. It is only in this sense that the right to self-determination may be exercised collectively, by a people choosing for themselves how they are to be governed and consenting to that governance.

      “The right to self-determination, unlike the absurd concept of a state’s ‘right to exist,’ is recognized under international law. It is a right that is explicitly guaranteed, for example, under the Charter of the United Nations, to which the state of Israel is party.

      “The proper framework for discussion therefore is the right to self-determination, and it is precisely to obfuscate this truth that the propaganda claim that Israel has a ‘right to exist’ is frequently made. It is necessary for Israel’s apologists to so shift the framework for discussion because, in the framework of the right to self-determination, it is obviously Israel that rejects the rights of the Palestinians and not vice versa.

      “And it is not only in the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory that Israel’s rejection is manifest. This rejection of Palestinians’ rights was also manifest in the very means by which Israel was established.

      “There is a popular belief that Israel was founded through some kind of legitimate political process. This is false. This myth is grounded in the idea that the famous ‘partition plan’ resolution of the United Nations General Assembly—Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947—legally partitioned Palestine or otherwise conferred legal authority to the Zionist leadership for their unilateral declaration of Israel’s existence on May 14, 1948.

      “Indeed, in that very declaration, Israel’s founding document, the Zionist leadership relied on Resolution 181 for their claim of legal authority. The truth is, however, that Resolution 181 did no such thing. The General Assembly had no authority to partition Palestine against the will of the majority of its inhabitants. Nor did it claim to. On the contrary, the Assembly merely recommended the partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, which would have to be agreed upon by both peoples to have any legal effect. The Assembly forwarded the matter to the Security Council, where the plan died with the explicit recognition that the UN had no authority to implement any such partition.

      “The Zionists’ unilateral declaration is frequently described as a ‘Declaration of Independence.’ But it was no such thing. A declaration of independence assumes that the people declaring their independence are sovereign over the territory in which they wish to exercise their right to self-determination. But the Zionists were not sovereign over the land that became the territory of the state of Israel.

      “On the contrary, when they declared Israel’s existence, Jews owned less than 7 percent of the land in Palestine. Arabs owned more land than Jews in every single district of Palestine. Arabs also constituted a numerical majority in Palestine. Despite mass immigration, Jews remained a minority comprising about a third of the population.

      “Even within the territory proposed by the UN for the Jewish state, when the Bedouin population was counted, Arabs constituted a majority. Even within that territory, Arabs owned more land than Jews.

      “Simply stated, the Zionist leadership had no legitimate claim to sovereignty over the territory they ultimately acquired through war.

      “Notably, the acquisition of territory by war is prohibited under international law.

      “Far from being established through any kind of legitimate political process, Israel was established through violence. The Zionists acquired most of the territory for their state through the ethnic cleansing of most of the Arab population, more than 700,000 people, from their homes in Palestine. Hundreds of Arab villages were literally wiped off the map.

      “So when Zionists claim that Israel has a ‘right to exist,’ what they are really saying is that the Zionists had a ‘right’ to ethnically cleanse Palestine in order to establish their ‘Jewish state.’

      “Obviously, there is no such right. On the contrary, once again, under international law, ethnic cleansing is recognized as a crime against humanity.

      “Zionists charge that critics of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians seek to ‘delegitimize’ the ‘Jewish state,’ but it matters that the unilateral declaration by the Zionists on May 14, 1948, had no legitimacy. It matters that the crime of ethnic cleansing cannot be justified or legitimized.

      “When this charge is leveled at Israel’s critics, what is really happening is that it is Israel’s apologists who are attempting to delegitimize the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, along with the internationally recognized right of refugees of war to return to their homeland.

      “Regardless of the illegitimacy of the means by which Israel was established, it exists. This is the present reality. However, the demand by the state of Israel that the Palestinians recognize its ‘right’ not just to exist, but to exist ‘as a Jewish state’ is simply a demand that the Palestinians surrender their rights and accede that the Zionists’ unilateral declaration and ethnic cleansing of Palestine were legitimate.

      “And that is why there has been no peace. There will be no peace until the rights of the Palestinians are recognized and respected. The problem for Zionists is that for the Palestinians to exercise their rights would mean the end of Israel’s existence as a ‘Jewish state.’

      “But what would be wrong with ending a fundamentally racist regime that perpetually violates international law and Palestinians’ human rights? What would be wrong with replacing it with a government that respects the equal rights of all the inhabitants of the territory over which it exercises political sovereignty and rules with the consent of the governed?

      “To anyone with any honesty and moral integrity, the clear answer to both questions is: nothing.

      “For all those who take an active role in pursing peace and justice, it is therefore to that end that we must focus our collective efforts. It starts with gaining a proper understanding of the true nature of the conflict and helping to open the eyes of all those who have integrity, but who have been deceived by the lies and propaganda that have perpetuated the violence and injustice for so long.”

      • Nathan
        Nathan
        March 19, 2019, 10:53 pm

        Misterioso – In the article that you have brought to our attention, there is one particular line that is really worthy of analysis: “There will be no peace until the rights of the Palestinians are recognized and respected”. Does this mean that there will be peace when the rights of the Palestinians are recognized and respected? Well, I would imagine that some readers would assume that to be the case; however, the article does not promise peace at all. The message of the article is that the conflict is a result of the founding of a Jewish state in Palestine against the wishes of the Palestinians. It should be noted that the immigration of the Jews to Palestine was also against the wishes of the Palestinians, and so the very Jewish presence in the article’s one-state proposal would mean that the rights of the Palestinians are not yet recognized and respected, and the conflict would not be resolved. Actually, I’ve never come across an article in which an anti-Israel author declares that fulfilling “such-and-such” conditions would mean that the conflict is resolved once and for all. It’s true that “there won’t be peace until…”, but it’s also true that there won’t be peace no matter what.

      • Peter in SF
        Peter in SF
        March 20, 2019, 1:45 am

        Nathan, you would benefit from going (back?) to school and learning about the difference between necessary and sufficient conditions. The assertion “There will be no X until Y” means that Y is a necessary condition for X. It does not imply that Y is a sufficient condition for X.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        March 20, 2019, 9:57 am

        Nathan: “In the article that you have brought to our attention, there is one particular line that is really worthy of analysis: “There will be no peace until the rights of the Palestinians are recognized and respected”. Does this mean that there will be peace when the rights of the Palestinians are recognized and respected? Well, I would imagine that some readers would assume that to be the case;”

        No sh** Sherlock!

        Nathan: “… however, the article does not promise peace at all.”

        ROFL. You just quoted from the article “There will be no peace until the rights of the Palestinians are recognized and respected”.

        Nathan: “It should be noted that the immigration of the Jews to Palestine was also against the wishes of the Palestinians, and so the very Jewish presence in the article’s one-state proposal would mean that the rights of the Palestinians are not yet recognized and respected, and the conflict would not be resolved.”

        1.) That’s your notion. This is not what the article says. 2.) And the problem has never been a “Jewish presence”, but what followed this presence: An infiltration of foreign Jewish settlers enforced upon the people of Palestine with Britishand later Zionist guns.

        nathan: “It’s true that “there won’t be peace until…”, but it’s also true that there won’t be peace no matter what.”

        It’s obviously true that you don’t half a problem with contradicting yourself.

        But let’s assume for the sake of argument that the Palestinians see their rights recognized and respected ONLY if there’s NO Jewish presence AT ALL in Palestine. In this case there will be peace only, if there’s no Jewish presence at all in Palestine. Duh. So your conclusion is nonsense that there won’t be peace no matter what. Even more nonsense than your claim that Palestinians have a problem with “Jewish presence”. To the contrary. Even in the 1964 version the PLO recognized native Jews to be automatically “Palestinians”. And nowadays the State of Palestine has offered Jews to reside in its territory, but not as Israelis.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      March 18, 2019, 9:34 am

      Related:

      http://www.thetower.org/7170-israels-ambassador-to-germany-calls-on-berlin-to-change-its-voting-behavior-at-un/

      “Israel’s Ambassador to Germany Calls on Berlin to ‘Change Its Voting Behavior’ at UN”
      The Tower, Feb. 8/19

      “Israel’s Ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, on Tuesday called on the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel ‘to change its voting behaviour’ at the United Nations and to push for an end to anti-Israel bias at the international body.

      “Issacharoff was quoted in BILD, the country’s largest circulating paper, saying that ‘Germany, of all places, regularly sides with the enemies of Israel. In November, Germany voted 16 times in 21 resolutions against Israel. It abstained in four resolutions.’

      “Asked by The Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal about his statement, the ambassador responded by writing on his Twitter feed, ‘[I] fully agree with Antje Schippmann’s article in Bild that it’s ‘urgently necessary’ to change German voting behavior in the UNGA on Israel and that Germany should adopt an ‘active leadership role in refocusing the common voting behavior of European partners.’

      “The report published in BILD on Monday was titled ‘Germany in the UN: FDP wants to stop anti-Israel insanity. We can no longer be followers.’

      “The paper reported that at a Free Democratic Party (FDP) session in the Bundestag, the party passed a resolution calling for a change in Germany’s voting pattern at the UN. The foreign policy spokesman of the FDP, Bijan Djir-Sarai, and a fellow MP, Frank Müller-Rosentritt, introduced the pro-Israel resolution.

      “According to the Post, the resolution calls on the federal government to ‘clearly distance itself from one-sided, politically motivated initiatives and alliances,’ and to counteract the ‘political forces in the near and Middle East’ which ‘openly threaten’ the Jewish state.

      “’We must no longer abandon Israel to the UN. It is madness that we are constantly on the side of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran or Yemen against Israel,’ Müller-Rosentritt told BILD.

      “Issacharoff in the past has declined to comment on discussions he had with German officials about the country’s largely pro-Iran regime trade policy. The United Kingdom, France, and Germany said last month that they will soon launch the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), an arrangement that will allow them to trade with Iran and protect European companies from the effects of United States sanctions.”

  2. Blake
    Blake
    March 18, 2019, 12:07 am

    Zionism hijacking and incriminating Judaism into Crimes against Humanity

  3. Vera Gottlieb
    Vera Gottlieb
    March 18, 2019, 12:52 pm

    This is getting annoying, ludicrous and shaming. Anything the Zionists don’t like is labelled ‘anti Semite’. What the Zionists need to learn is to accept the truth instead of vilifying those who express an opinion about israel’s right wing government. These Zionists never lived through Hitler’s terror regime or they would realize what they are doing to Palestinians is almost of the same kind.

    • just
      just
      March 18, 2019, 3:10 pm

      “Congratulations and thank you, Jewish Voice for a Just peace in the Middle East … [and] the city of Göttingen.”

      Vera~ it’s more than ‘annoying’, imho. See what happened in NYC on Sunday:

      “This New York Rally Was Meant to Call Out Hate Crimes. It Turned Into a Protest Against Ilhan Omar …

      NEW YORK — An Upper East Side rally intended to condemn anti-Semitism and hate crimes such as the Christchurch mosque massacre turned into a display of divisiveness Sunday, as some Jewish attendees used the event to protest against Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.

      The rally, led by Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, was held outside Asphalt Green — a sports facility that had been vandalized with swastikas last week.

      Close to a hundred people attended the gathering. When it was first announced, it was intended to be about anti-Semitism alone, but following the mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand that left 50 people dead on Friday, organizers broadened its scope to also include “the recent spike in hate crimes in New York, nationwide and around the world.”

      “We are here today to speak out against anti-Semitism, to speak out against Islamophobia, to speak out against racism, to speak out against all hate,” Rep. Maloney said at the start of the event. “The basic right of freedom of religion is the bedrock of a free society, and we must all rise together to end all bigotry and intolerance once and for all,” she said.

      Maloney was followed by several local religious leaders, including Rabbi Arthur Schneier and Imam Qazi Qayyoom.

      But the speakers were quickly interrupted by attendees who held signs that read “Where have you been?”; “Remove Jew/Israel haters Omar, Tlaib, AOC from House committees”; and “Rep. Omar’s hateful words poison the future of America.”

      Hillary Barr, an activist from an organization called Mothers against Terrorism, was holding one such sign behind the podium. An aide to Maloney asked her to lower it, claiming that “this is not the congresswoman’s message.” The aide then physically attempted to remove Barr, who replied: “I can’t stand here? This is a free country.”

      “When there is somebody in the House of Representatives who is anti-Semitic, speaking against Jews and Israel, I came here today to say she must be ousted from Congress.” Barr told Haaretz. “This is not somebody who represents democracy or peace, or anything that the United States stands for,” she added.

      Barr expressed disappointment that none of the speakers at the event addressed Omar’s recent remarks, which some Jewish lawmakers and organizations say contained anti-Semitic tropes.

      “If we are talking about anti-Semitism, this is a woman that has said anti-Semitic remarks over and over and over,” Barr said. “She has to be called to task.”

      Efrat Aaronovitch, an Israeli who has been living in New York for some 20 years, also stood with those condemning Omar, waving a large Israeli flag.

      “Democrats today, their approach is becoming more and more anti-Israel,” she told Haaretz. “We see a very uncomfortable movement too much to the left. The truth is that until now I’ve been a Democrat, but I am now a Republican,” Aaronovitch added.

      The participation of Rev. Al Sharpton at the rally also sparked protests.

      During the Crown Heights riot of 1991, Sharpton was accused of inflaming tensions between the local African-American and Jewish communities by saying things like: “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.”

      As he took to the podium Sunday, a group of protesters shouted out: “We remember Crown Heights!” One Israeli woman added in Hebrew: “This guy is the reason Yankel Rosenbaum died,” referring to the Jewish student who was stabbed to death during the affray.

      Upper East Side resident Ruth Fuchs said she had come to the rally because although displays of hate are “not surprising anymore,” she felt she had to support those who were speaking out against it.

      “The more it changes, the more it stays the same,” she said. “We have free speech, but people take it too far in terms of defacing property, synagogues and schools. It’s very sad.”

      Haaretz reached out to Maloney’s office for a response, but had yet to receive a response by press time.”

      https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-ny-rally-against-hate-crimes-turns-into-protest-against-rep-ilhan-omar-1.7026011

      I guess that the “Mothers Against Terrorism” aren’t familiar with the rules of Congress… or much else.

      There is better news out there, though. This action by Göttingen that is chronicled here, and the action in Denmark recently:

      “Copenhagen mayor awards BDS activists for their courage …”

      https://mondoweiss.net/2019/02/copenhagen-activists-courage/

      F/U article is a ‘must- read’, imho:

      “Ronnie Barkan’s speech against Israeli Apartheid in a Berlin court: ‘I stand here today as the accuser, not the accused’ …”

      https://mondoweiss.net/2019/03/apartheid-accuser-accused/

      The internet has made it impossible for the real news to be suppressed, and for hasbara to prevail. It’s causing a headache to many in the Zio camp.

      Thank you, Jonathan.

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