In an open letter to Angela Merkel, more than 60 scientists and creative artists from Germany and Israel criticize the anti-Semitism officer Felix Klein:

Dear Chancellor Merkel, this letter is for you from concerned German and Israeli citizens. We are concerned with the impending annexation of Palestinian territories by Israel and the inflationary, factually unfounded and legally unfounded use of the concept of anti-Semitism, which aims to suppress legitimate criticism of Israeli government policy. We are particularly concerned where this tendency is promoted with political and financial support from the Anti-Semitism Officer.

An example of the inhumane extent of such activities can be seen in the funding of Arye Sharuz Shalicar’s publication “The New German Anti-Semite”, according to the publisher since 2017 director of foreign affairs in the Ministry of Intelligence in the office of the Prime Minister of Israel, and his subsequent lecture tour through German cities. In this book published by Hentrich and Hentrich in 2018, historian and publicist Dr. Pure amber reviled as an anti-Semite.

For decades, Reiner Bernstein has worked tirelessly for a just and non-violent solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict. B. as part of the Geneva Peace Initiative (2003). That a carefully differentiating historian is disparaged in this way paradigmatically shows the Israeli government’s increasingly effective strategy in Germany to brand any criticism of the occupation and settlement policy, which is contrary to international law, as anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic.

Reiner Bernstein’s commitment, which, contrary to what Shalicar claims, is not a Jew, is based on his historical responsibility as a German. With his ethical stance, he also stands in a nearly 100-year tradition of endeavors to find a just solution to the Jewish-Arab or Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as it was designed by members of Brit-Shalom (Peace League) in the 1920s. The members of Brit-Shalom also included Martin Buber and Gershom Scholem. The hope of peace remained a central concern of Israeli society and politics until Yitzhak Rabin’s murder. Rabin was murdered by a lone perpetrator, whose political stance has become increasingly powerful since then, and which today seems to determine key features of Israeli government policy.

We wonder what forces the support of the federal government is in Israel today. In any case, the promotion of dubious publications, whose aggressive populist style is not based on facts, will tolerate voices of peace and dialogue being defamed and silenced. Peace can only be achieved through mutual respect.

Where critical dialogue is more necessary than ever, the misuse of the accusation of anti-Semitism is increasingly creating a mood of branding, intimidation and fear in Germany as well. In this atmosphere, it is not surprising that the Berlin Chamber Court dismissed Bernstein’s lawsuit against his defamation. With the support of right-wing populist Israeli voices, the Federal Government Commissioner Against Anti-Semitism distracts attention from real anti-Semitic sentiments and riots that actually endanger Jewish life in Germany.

With the EU Presidency and the presidency of the United Nations Security Council, Germany currently has a special responsibility. The essence of German state law is and above all the obligation towards universal human rights and international law. The security of Israel can only be permanent in accordance with these. We expect the federal government to assume its responsibility in the spirit of the peace forces that have always been and are part of the Jewish community. We expect a decisive fight against anti-Semitism where it actually manifests itself. We expect consistent protection of freedom of expression and assembly in order to be able to discuss the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict controversially in public discourse. Last but not least, we expect a determined initiative by the Federal Government and the European Union to prevent Israel from threatening the annexation of Palestinian territories that violates international law and to enable the Israeli and Palestinian sides to return to the negotiating table.

Best regards

Prof. Dr. Katajun Amirpur, Cologne; Dr. Gabriele von Arnim, Berlin; Prof. Dr. Dieter Becker, Bielefeld; PD Dr. Johannes M. Becker, Marburg; Katja Behrens, Darmstadt; Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Benz, Berlin; Jörn Böhme, Berlin; Prof. Dr. Lorenz Böllinger, Bremen; Fred Breinersdorfer, Berlin; Prof. Dr. Micha Brumlik, Berlin; Prof. Dr. Jose Brunner, Tel Aviv; Prof. Dr. Naomi Chazan, Jerusalem; Prof. Dr. Johannes Feest, Bremen; Prof. Dr. Rivka Feldhay, Jerusalem; Prof. Dr. Josef Freise, Neuwied; Prof. Dr. Gideon Freudenthal, Jerusalem; Prof. Dr. Efrat Gal-Ed, Cologne; Prof. Dr. Amos Goldberg, Jerusalem; Dr. Ran HaCohen, Tel Aviv; Dr. Illana Hammerman, Jerusalem; Gert Heidenreich, Seefeld; Christoph Hein, Havelberg; Michal Kaiser-Livne, Berlin; Wolfgang Killinger, Gauting; Dr. Tanja Kinkel, Munich; Prof. Dr. Menachem Klein, Jerusalem; Dr. Annelen Kranefuss, Cologne; Ursula Krechel, Berlin; Michael Krüger, Munich; Prof. Dr. Karin Kulow, Berlin; Dr. Ulrich Kusche, Göttingen; Andreas Lesser, Munich; Dr. Meir Margalit, Jerusalem; Prof. Dr. Thomas Metzinger, Mainz; Brian Michaels, Bonn; Edith Müller, Berlin; Sten Nadolny, Berlin; Norbert Niemann, Munich; Prof. Dr. Fania Oz-Salzberger, Haifa; Rainer Ratmann, Hünstetten; Prof. Dr. Klaus Reichert, Frankfurt; Edgar Reitz, Munich; Prof. Dr. Luise Reddemann, Cologne; Anatol Regnier, Munich; Prof. Dr. Sebastian Scheerer, Hamburg; Dr. phil. habil. Claudia Schmölders, Berlin; Ingo Schulze, Berlin; Alexandra Senfft, Fuchstal; Prof. Dr. Galili Shahar, Tel Aviv; Volker Skierka, Hamburg; Dr. Tilman Spengler, Munich; Prof. Klaus Staeck, Heidelberg; Christian Sterzing, Edenkoben; Johano Strasser, Berg (Lake Starnberg); Barbara Unmüssig, Berlin; Prof. Dr. Rolf Verleger, Lübeck; Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Voßkamp, ​​Cologne; Dr. Ofer Waldman, Berlin / Kiryat Tivon; Hans Well, “Wellbappn”, Turk field; Friedrich Wolf, Cologne; Prof. Dr. Moshe Zimmermann, Jerusalem; Rainer Zimmer-Winkel, Berlin; Prof. Dr. Moshe Zuckermann, Tel Aviv; Subsequently signed: Prof. Dr. Aleida Assmann, Constance; Prof. Dr. Jan Assmann, Constance; Prof. Dr. Gert Krell, Hofheim / Ts.

Stand 26. July 2020

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