- Israel accused of being an apartheid regime
- German Authorities reject the term “Apartheid”
- How Germany threatens pro-Palestinian activists
- what about the sons of Holocaust survivors supporting Palestinian rights?
- What it is behind Germany’s support to Israel-Zionist regime?
- Freedom of expression at stake: is Germany justified?
- Want to know more?
Germany’s involvement in the issue of Palestinian apartheid is primarily seen through the perspectives of various individuals and organizations within Germany. While there is no official stance from the German government on this matter, there are differing opinions among German academics, public figures, and human rights organizations.
Israel accused of being an apartheid regime
Some individuals and groups in Germany have accused Israel of maintaining an apartheid regime in its treatment of Palestinians. For example, a petition titled “The Elephant in the Room”, co-initiated by Israeli-born historian Omer Bartov and signed by over 2,000 academics, clergy, and public figures, states that there can be no democracy for Jews in Israel while Palestinians live under an apartheid regime.
Human Rights Watch released a report titled “A Threshold Crossed“, in which they concluded that Israeli authorities are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution. This report has been referenced by various individuals, including former Israeli ambassadors to South Africa, current Knesset members, the ex-UN Secretary General, and the French foreign minister.
German Authorities reject the term “Apartheid”
However, it is important to note that not everyone in Germany agrees with applying the label of apartheid to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Germany’s antisemitism commissioner, Dr. Felix Klein, has stated that calling Israel an apartheid state is not appropriate. The German Foreign Ministry has also rejected the term “apartheid” in response to an Amnesty International report on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
The issue of Palestinian apartheid remains complex and contentious in Germany, with varying opinions among individuals and organizations. Advocacy groups within the Palestinian diaspora in Germany call for condemnation of perceived crimes against humanity, while others criticize the rejection of the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel’s actions.
How Germany threatens pro-Palestinian activists
The Frankfurt Book Fair has faced criticism for canceling an award ceremony for Palestinian author Adania Shibli’s novel “Minor Detail” due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. Over 350 authors have signed an open letter expressing their disappointment and accusing the fair of “shutting down” Palestinian voices.
Adania Shibli is a Palestinian author and essayist. She was born in Palestine in 1974 and holds a Ph.D. from the University of East London in Media and Cultural Studies. Shibli has published three novels in Arabic and has been recognized with awards such as the Qattan Young Writer’s Award-Palestine for her novels “Masaas” and “Kulluna Baid bethat al Miqdar aan el-Hub”. She splits her time between Berlin and Jerusalem.
what about the sons of Holocaust survivors supporting Palestinian rights?
Adam Broomberg, Artist and professor of Photography
Adam Broomberg is a South African artist, activist and educator currently based in Berlin, Germany. He is known for his work in photography, video, new media and collage. Broomberg was born in Johannesburg in 1970 and has exhibited internationally. He was part of the artist duo Broomberg & Chanarin who received critical acclaim for their work.
He currently lives in Berlin and is Professor of Photography at the Hochschule für bildende Künste (HFBK) in Hamburg. Broomberg’s work often explores social and political issues and he is known for his collaborations and activism, including his involvement with the NGO Artists + Allies x Hebron.
Broomberg has faced backlash and scrutiny for his support of Palestine, including being labelled an anti-Semite, and the Anti-Semitism Commissioner for Hamburg vilified him for his involvement in the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, accusing him of legitimising terrorism.
Yet, it is worth noting that Broomberg’s work has been exhibited internationally and his art is in the collections of prestigious institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Adam Broomberg, the son of Holocaust survivors, spent two years documenting Palestinian suffering.
Deborah Feldman, Author of the bestseller “Unorthodox”
Deborah Feldman is an American-born German writer living in Berlin. She is best known for her 2012 autobiography, “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots,” which tells the story of her escape from an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York. This memoir served as the basis for the 2020 Netflix miniseries “Unorthodox”
Deborah Feldman has been vocal about her views on Israel, particularly in the context of her experiences as a Jew living in Germany.
She has expressed her views as an outspoken secular Jew, which has led to backlash from conservative Jewish groups Her criticisms have been highlighted in the German media, where she has been quoted and featured in TV shows discussing her perspectives.
I’ve lived in Germany for nearly a decade now, but the only people with whom I’ve ever been able to discuss the conflict in the Middle East are Israelis and Palestinians. Germans tend to cut off any attempt at constructive conversation with the much-favoured phrase “that topic is much too complicated”. As a result, the understandings I’ve reached about the geopolitical developments of the past three decades are the result of private conversations, safely tucked away from the judgmental eyes of a German society eager to lecture us on how any criticism of Israel is antisemitic.Deborah Feldman (Germany is a good place to be Jewish. Unless, like me, you’re a Jew who criticises Israel – The Guardian)
The article highlights how the German government’s unconditional support for Israel leads to the marginalization of dissenting Jews and the ignoring of civilian deaths in Gaza. The author concludes that Germany’s obsession with Israel is more about the “German psyche” than the safety and belonging of Jewish people.
What it is behind Germany’s support to Israel-Zionist regime?
“All the leading German politicians think [that defending Israel] is morally the right thing to do because of the German past,”Academic Daniel Marwecki, author of “Germany and Israel: Whitewashing and State Building”. [As war in Gaza rages, what’s behind Germany’s support of Israel?, Al-Jazeera interview]
One key factor is Germany’s efforts to make amends for its Nazi past and the Holocaust.
“At this moment, there is only one place for Germany. That is the side of Israel,” Scholz said in an address to the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, on Thursday. “That’s what we mean when we say, ‘Israel’s security is German ‘reason of state.’”Olaf Scholz (Scholz: Germany’s ‘only place’ now is at Israel’s side – DW – 12 Oct 2023 )
Unpacking Germany’s Collaboration with Israel
The collaboration between Germany and Israel extends to different fields, including diplomacy, research, science, technology, and economics.
Germany sees a “special responsibility” towards Israel, which was founded just three years after the Holocaust, and this commitment is considered a fundamental part of present-day Germany’s existence.
- Security and Strategic Cooperation:
- Financial support from Germany for Israel’s military and intelligence.
- Vocal endorsement of Israel’s right to self-defense and opposition to boycotts.
- Technology and Innovation:
- Germany as a key partner in Israel’s global leadership in technology and innovation.
- Significant investments in Israeli startups and research by German companies.
- Energy and Natural Resources:
- Israel supplying around 40% of Germany’s natural gas imports.
- Mutual interest in exploring Eastern Mediterranean gas deposits for enhanced energy security.
- Cultural and Academic Exchange:
- Long history of collaboration between German and Israeli universities and research institutions.
- Advancements in science, technology, and medicine through this exchange.
- Approximately 300,000 German tourists visit Israel annually.
- Tourism contributes significantly to Israel’s economy and strengthens bilateral ties.
Freedom of expression at stake: is Germany justified?
- Protest Restrictions.
- Crackdown on Pro-Palestinian Groups.
- Harsh Treatment of BDS Movement.
- Climate of Fear and Division.
- Limits on Free Expression for the Palestinian Cause.
- Bans, Arrests, and Profiling for Palestinian Diaspora.
- Silencing pro-paestinain voices in the Culture Sector.
- Repression of Anti-Zionist Jews.
Want to know more?
- Petition: “The Elephant in the Room.”
- Human Rights Watch Report: “A Threshold Crossed.”
- Deciphering Germany’s Pro-Israel Consensus | Institute for Palestine Studies
- Germany and Palestine | DW | 15 May 2008
- Germany’s relentless campaign to silence pro-Palestinian voices | Conflict | Al Jazeera
- Colonial discourses are stifling free speech in Germany | Racism | Al Jazeera
- Watch: German TV “regrets” airing this interview about Gaza | The Electronic Intifada
- Palestinians must suffer so that Germany can feel better about its past
- Why Must Palestinians Pay for Germany’s Crimes Against European Jews? Plus, Pinkwashing – YouTube
- Why Germany gets it wrong about antisemitism and Palestine | openDemocracy
- Stigmatized But Not Silenced: Growing up Palestinian in Germany – Mondoweiss
- Germany: An enduring enemy of the Palestinian struggle | Middle East Eye
- Israel-Palestine: How Germany’s remembrance culture ignores today’s war crimes | Middle East Eye
- How Israeli influence is squashing free speech in Germany | Middle East Eye
- Germany rejects Amnesty’s ‘apartheid’ label for Israel – DW – 02/02/2022
- Germany’s Split Identity: Liberal at Home, Reactionary on Palestine | Contending Modernities
- Germany’s anti-Palestinian censorship turns on Jews
- Activists from Different Worlds: Meet Two Prominent Peace Advocates Working to End Israel’s Occupation of Palestine
- Germany’s anti-Palestinianism is escalating | Opinions | Al Jazeera
- Leading Israel scholars invoke ‘apartheid’ in critique of status quo – The Washington Post
- ‘Complete censorship’: Germany’s Palestinian diaspora fights crackdown | Israel-Palestine conflict | Al Jazeera
- Opinion: Germany pledged ‘never again.’ Now its stance against genocide is silencing protests – Los Angeles Times
- Amnesty is fighting to end Israeli apartheid. Why isn’t its German branch?
- Germany’s unique relationship with Israel – DW – 15 Oct 2023
- Palestinian voices ‘shut down’ at Frankfurt Book Fair, say authors | Germany | The Guardian
- Germany must face its issues over Israel and the past. Silencing a Palestinian author won’t help | Hanno Hauenstein | The Guardian
- Europe: Right to protest must be protected during latest escalations in Israel/OPT | Amnesty International | 20 October 2023
- Germany’s strict support for Israel, informed by history : NPR
- Germany is a good place to be Jewish. Unless, like me, you’re a Jew who criticises Israel | Deborah Feldman | The Guardian