"I have no understanding when Jews, as a minority in Germany, who enjoy all the rights of the majority society, support a state that denies precisely these rights to another people - the Palestinians. Through his policies, Israel is not only endangering the Palestinians, but also its own Jewish population and is increasingly becoming an unsafe place for Jews.”
With the censorship of the city, not to let the Israeli-German publicist Abraham Melzer to hold a lecture in Munich, the mood in wide circles of our city society has tipped, not only among those who have been dealing with the conflict for years.
I can well understand that one is afraid of the growing anti-Semitism in Germany - I am also worried about it. But prohibitions against dialogues tend to stir up anti-Jewish sentiments. For the mood towards Israel and the Jews here is getting more and more aggressive. Many people cannot understand the double standards when it comes to the policies of the State of Israel. For this reason too, my husband and I have been trying for years to convince the Foreign Office and the Federal Chancellery of the Federal Republic of Germany to deal with this conflict. I can understand when Jews regard Israel as a retreat, but I have no understanding when Jews, as a minority in Germany, who enjoy all the rights of the majority society, support a state that denies precisely these rights to another people - the Palestinians. Through his policies, Israel is not only endangering the Palestinians, but also its own Jewish population and is increasingly becoming an unsafe place for Jews.
The comparison of the President of the Jewish Community between the BDS campaign and the Nazi appeal "Do not buy from Jews" is wrong, because the boycott was supposed to hit the Jews because they were Jews, but if the state of Israel stops the occupation, also the BDS campaign, which is based on the failure of German and European policy, will come to an end. It is not the peace groups that delegitimize Israel, but the self-destructive policy of the state, which is why 500 Israeli personalities - including David Grossman, Dani Karavan, Amos Oz, Moshe Zimmermann, and Moshe Zuckermann - addressed a call to Jews and non-Jews around the world calling on them not to remain silent when they were concerned about Israel.
Censorship on the part of the city and other institutions is seen as an attack on one's own democracy and, above all, freedom of expression. Since the climate is now so poisoned and the fronts are so hardened, I have the great fear that one day this will strike back on all the Jews living here. Because of the German-Jewish history, the subject of Israel-Palestine moves the minds of many people and evokes strong emotions. Critical voices should therefore be heard. Even if you do not agree with everything, you should deal with it. This is the prerequisite for a pluralistic and open society.
Judith Bernstein, Munich
Translation by Abraham Weizfeld, PhD