The European Left has to firmly stand in solidarity with Jewish communities
On October 9, 2019, a twenty-seven year old German neo-Nazi attacked a synagogue in Halle, Germany. He tried to force entry into the Jewish temple aiming to murder as many Jews as possible. He failed to do so because of increased security measures put in place by the Jewish community itself and by mere luck. Police forces, commonly positioned at Jewish institutions due to the permanent threat of anti-Semitic attacks, were not present. According (not only) to an article by faz.net, the police did not deem it necessary. After failing to gain entry to the synagogue where 51 community members were celebrating Yom Kippur, the far-right terrorist killed Jana L., a woman passing-by on the street, and Kevin S. at a nearby Kebab restaurant whilst severely injuring two others.
He had a smartphone mounted on his helmet – the whole raid was broadcast live on the streaming portal twitch.tv. The egoshooter-like live-stream („Gamification of Terror“) begins with a statement he pronounces in English language (!): “Hello, my name is Anon, and I think the Holocaust never happened. Feminism is to blame for the declining birth rate in the West, which is the cause of mass immigration – and the root of these problems is the Jew.” In his logic, Jews are to blame for the “Great Replacement”.
Even judges trivialize aggressions against Jews
According to German intelligence the perpetrator was not previously engaged in organized neo-Nazi groups and the national security community didn’t consider the man a relevant threat. This does not only show the ignorance of the security apparatus when faced with anti-Semitic ideologies, threats and violence, but also reinforces the fact that anti-Semitism is, until today, deeply rooted in German society. A society in which attacks and harassment directed at Jews occur nearly on a daily basis. A society in which judges considered arson of a synagogue in Wuppertal by three perpetrators in 2014 as bagatelles or legitimate means of political expression. The court ruled: “They just wanted to draw some attention on the Gaza war.“
Not only this specific brutal attack proves that anti-Semitic harassment, violence and terror are omnipresent in Germany and European societies in general. For further evidence and proof, a look into the survey „Experiences and perceptions of Anti-Semitism“ conducted 2018 by the European Union Agency For Fundamental Rights might be rewarding.
We need to look beyond the tip of the iceberg
However, the open eruption of physical violence against Jews is never the beginning of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism starts with conspiracy theories about sinister forces controlling world politics or media behind the scenes. It starts when Jews are individually or collectively held accountable for the politics of the Israeli government and when Jews are accused of being disloyal to their home-countries. Anti-Semitism starts when anti-Semitic tropes are put forward to de-legitimize and demonize the State of Israel, which, since its founding, has been a safe haven for Jews around the world.
Anti-Semitism has to be recognized, named as such and pushed back on a day-to-day basis! It has to be contested on every level: In pubs, at the supermarket counter, at school, at work. Because it is this seeming banality of daily-life anti-Semitism that lays the foundation for a 27 year old misogynist males to believe in conspiracy theories and that encourages right-wing extremists and white supremacists in their deeds.
Combating anti-Semitism entails standing in firm solidarity with Jewish communities; it entails showing support for fears and concerns over anti-Semitic harassment and violence. We have to take the struggle against anti-Semitism seriously, for the sake of Jews and those perceived as such by anti-Semites, but also for the sake of universal values of freedom and equality.
And that’s what DSC Leipzig does
In 2018, DSC Leipzig founded the “Everything Must Change Union“ which is a working group aiming to reinforce the progressive struggle against anti-Semitism and towards a better future. We organize workshops and debates on historical and contemporary forms of anti-Semitism and work towards a comprehensive policy for progressive movements and political parties for contesting this ideology internally and externally. Our upcoming workshop will take place in Göttingen, Germany, from November 8 to 11, 2019.
We have to prove ourselves to stand firmly in solidarity with Jewish communities, not only when the peak of the anti-Semitic iceberg shows itself through brutal violence and terrorism of neo-Nazis – and, of course, fight each type of discrimination and racism. Herein lies a fundamental task for the European civil society and thus for the European Left.
Picture on top of the page:
After the shooting in Halle/Saale – rally of 16.000 protesters against anti-Semitism in Berlin.
Screenshot of a „tagesschau“ video
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