The duplicity of Berlin’s political establishment is hard to match. On the one hand, city authorities recently banned the “Al-Quds Day” parade which during many years featured pacifist chants such as “Death to Israel!” and “Jewish swine come outside and fight alone!”
Realizing the harm the annual event did to Berlin’s global brand as an international capital of peace and tolerance, this year the city of Berlin banned the parade. The city of Berlin’s hypocrisy unfortunately did not end.
In order to fuel and foment antisemitism more effectively and with less collateral damage, the city’s “Haus der Kulturen der Welt”, (House of World Cultures) which focuses on celebrating non-European cultures, will hold in early June a four-day anti-Israel hate festival.
At face value, “Hijacking Memory: The Holocaust and the New Right” purports to present the danger of allowing populist right-wing discourse to taint the memory of the Holocaust. In reality, the thrust of its panel discussions and screenings is to showcase how Israel allegedly strengthens rightist populism around the world and how rightist populism strengthens Zionism.
Thus, for example, on Day 3, the anti-Zionist Israeli former politician Avraham Burg will delight Berliners with the following talk:
“The Hidden Agenda: The Holocaust in Israel between Tragedy and Strategy"
"In the first decades of its existence, the State of Israel did not identify with the Holocaust. Indeed, as Tom Segev and other historians have shown, the Holocaust was in conflict with the image the State wanted to convey: that Jews were finally agents of history and not its subjects, heroes rather than victims. Only later did certain Israeli politicians decide it was opportune to underscore the Holocaust as the prime example of murderous antisemitism in order to discredit all criticism of state policies as antisemitic. This lecture will describe the history of the deliberate strategies involved in this process.”
One-sentence takeaway: Israel ignored the Holocaust until remembering it became politically expedient.
Other lectures are even more open in their hatred of Jews and Israel:
“Whitening of the Jews and Misuse of Holocaust Memory"
“'Antisemitism' was originally coined to relegate the European Jews to a non-white status. It was linked to the inflow of Eastern European Jews into Western countries in the late 19th century. While the defeat of Nazism favoured the gradual (re)whitening of European Jews after 1945, the rise of anticolonial struggles and the inflow into Western countries of Muslim migrants determined a shift in xenophobia and racism, supported by the Zionist far right. There has been a reorientation of Western racism involving its own whitening of European Jews to pervert the Holocaust legacy into an ideological weapon that could be instrumentalised for its anti-Muslim agenda.”
In other words, what is outrageous these days is no longer the fact that hundreds of teachers in Germany are afraid to teach the Holocaust and the history of Israel due to the hostile reactions of too many Muslim pupils. No! The scandal according to Gilbert Achcar is that Jews (aka “the Zionist far right”) appeal to the memory of the Holocaust in order to end overindulgence towards this Jew-hatred!
Film screening, followed by a discussion with Suhad Babaa, Peter Beinart, Lothar Zechlin
In German and English
When a news publisher in Arkansas, an attorney in Arizona, and a speech therapist in Texas are told they must choose between their jobs and their political beliefs, they launch legal battles that expose an attack on freedom of speech across 33 states in America.
"Boycott traces the impact of state legislation designed to penalize individuals and companies that choose to boycott Israel due to its human rights record. A legal thriller with 'accidental plaintiffs' at the center of the story, Boycott is a bracing look at the far-reaching implications of anti-boycott legislation and an inspiring tale of everyday Americans standing up to protect our rights in an age of shifting politics and threats to freedom of speech.”
That is, violating American state laws that ban boycotts aimed at destroying the State of Israel amounts to “protect(ing) our rights in an age of shifting politics and threats to freedom of speech.” That the BDS movement is far more concerned about denying Jews a homeland in their homeland than advancing human rights, is obvious given its utter indifference to the plight of Palestinian Arabs at the hands of everyone except Jews. Yet Berlin city coffers shamelessly whitewash this sort of antisemitism.
All talks, panels, and screenings are completely free and open to the general public, proving that the goal of the whole conference is to spew and promote as much hostility to Israel and Zionism as possible. According to the IHRA definition of antisemitism, to which Germany officially subscribes, doing so is illegal.
The fact that official institutions of Germany’s capital city provide a platform to such a one-sided portrayal of Israel is an outrage. That they do so in the name of Holocaust Memory, adds insult to injury.
Self-respecting Jews should not take this matter lightly.
I urge all readers to call German embassies and consulates to protest with Israeli tact this festival of hatred, urging that it be immediately cancelled.
In Israel, please call the German Embassy at: +972 3-693-1313.
In Washington DC please call the German Embassy at: +1 202-298-4000
In New York City please call the German Consulate at: +1 212-610-9700.
In London please call the German Embassy at: +44 020 7824 1300
The whole program of “Hijacking Memory: The Holocaust and the New Right” is available here: https://www.hkw.de/en/programm/projekte/2022/hijacking_memory/start.php