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Exploring fear and loathing in the German state

Why the German government misunderstands ethical lessons from its country’s history

Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) Cape Town (CT) submits this critical memorandum to the Federal Republic of Germany’s consulates in South Africa and Namibia, and its embassy in South Africa, in protest against the Federal Republic’s joining Israel to oppose the South African charge of genocide recently submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Our criticism is based on the observation that the German state has failed to understand Germany’s own history from a universal, ethical standpoint. But, outside of state structures, and looking towards the grassroots of civil society, we identify authentic voices struggling for a truly ethical politics.

The 1948 Genocide Convention[1] lists a number of actions, implemented separately or in combination, that fall under the definition of genocide.

· Killing members of the group.

· Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.

· Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

· Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.

· Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Germany undoubtedly has ethical responsibilities to remember and repair the societal damage arising from its genocide of the Hereros and Ovambos,[2] during the colonisation of Namibia, as well as of the Jews (5,7 million)[3], Roma (500 000),[4] LGBTQ communities[5] and Slavs (11 million)[6], during World War Two. PSC CT is critical of the German state failing to live up to practising the ethical imperative of ‘never again for anyone anywhere’, through its unwavering support for the state of Israel’s current ‘genocidal moment’[7], its total assault on Gaza and its inhabitants, destroying hundreds of thousands of homes, basic infrastructure and the production and distribution of food. By its statements and actions, the German government is complicit in the destruction currently being carried out in Gaza.

The Herero genocide in Namibia: inside Germany’s first mass murder. SOURCE: allthatsinteresting.com

Besides protesting these actions of the German state PSC CT also mobilises support for Germans of conscience protesting this complicity, who are subject to police harassment, criminal indictment and the outrageous censorship of free speech aimed at suppressing the narrative of Palestinian rights and equality for all living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. These are the authentic voices of conscience and part (or potentially part) of the global Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) political force for justice and equality in historic Palestine.

This memo is structured as follows: First it recounts the factual record of Germany’s response to the South African charge of genocide submitted to the ICJ. Second, it critically analyses Germany’s claims justifying its stance, in the light of international law, including contextualising this within a history of Zionist colonisation since 1948 that has been punctuated with many genocidal moments. Third, it shows the German state’s complicity in the censorship in Western democracies of critique of Israel, through weaponization of the German genocide of European Jewry to shield Israel from ideological criticism and delegitimation. Fourth, it reflects on the psycho-social function of what the scholar Michael Rothberg[8] refers to as ‘competitive memory’ of historical traumas, that exceptionalises Jewish suffering and displaces German ‘guilt’ onto the Palestinian people.

This critical memorandum posits a way of looking at past traumas different from competitive memory, which is a zero-sum struggle for pre-eminence in which there can only be winners and losers, a struggle which is closely allied to the potential for deadly violence. Rothberg argues that in reality memories of different historical traumas are multidirectional, i.e. they inform each other, and ‘embracing the dynamic of multi-directional memory creates the potential to create new forms of solidarity and new visions of justice’.

In line with the above thoughts PSC CT makes this critique of the German state as part of a broader ideological struggle of the global BDS campaign for justice and equality for all in historic Palestine.

Facts about Germany’s stance[9]

ICJ case, sequence of events. SOURCE: sef-constructed from references.

Thus, Germany’s position was made abundantly clear already prior to the public ICJ hearings and officially confirmed less than two hours after the conclusion of Israel’s oral presentations, a full two weeks prior to the court delivering its provisional ruling. The German Foreign Minister response to the ICJ ruling ignored the main content of that ruling namely that genocide was plausibly being committed and that Israel was ordered to do everything to prevent this state from continuing. Instead, she emphasised that Israel had to allow humanitarian assistance. Arguably, preventing genocide would require a ceasefire, whereas a humanitarian pause in the bombardment had already happened, but did not stop the level of destruction that has led the court to identify the plausibility of genocide being committed. By failing to call for a ceasefire and through supporting Israel’s contention that it was already doing all in its power to minimise civilian casualties,[15] the German state remains complicit in the ongoing (plausible) genocide.

Germany’s assumptions and international law

Germany is closely allied with Israel to the extent that Israel’s security is a ‘reason of state’ for the German state,[16] meaning that Germany supports Israeli measures allegedly to secure its state sovereignty as if this were tantamount to supporting the sovereignty and integrity of the German state. In her 2008 speech to the Knesset German Chancellor Merkel also referred to Hamas as ‘terrorists’, a pejorative that fits well with Israel’s discourse about it being the only democracy in the Middle East and defending Western values against Islamo-fascism.[17] A core assumption is that Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens from attacks like on 7 October 2023.

Merkel in Knesset 2008, joining Israel and Germany at the hip. SOURCE: www.welt.de

In 2004 the ICJ gave an advisory opinion on the Apartheid Wall (the separation barrier between Israel and the West Bank), in which it ruled that Israel’s de jure international borders were represented by the 1949 armistice lines.[18] Israel has subjected the occupied Palestinian territories (including Gaza) to belligerent occupation[19] for the past 56 years. As an occupying power Israel has responsibilities to exercise its power for the benefit of the inhabitants under occupation.[20] Furthermore, international law provides for the right of occupied people to resist colonial and apartheid systems through arms.[21] It follows that as an occupying power Israel does not have the right, by international law, to defend itself against armed attacks from the occupied people. Therefore, Germany’s persistent support for Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas attacks has no basis in international law.

The German state’s rejection of the charge of genocide that South Africa brought to the ICJ, as ‘false’ and ‘having no basis whatsoever’ ignores the considerable scholarly work on this specific topic. Specifically, the German Foreign Minister denied that there was a genocidal intent by Israel, only an intent to defend its citizens against terrorist violence. Germany’s Economic Affairs and Climate Action Minister went a step further, turning the accusation of genocidal intentions against Hamas.

To show genocide one has to demonstrate an intention to commit any or a combination of the acts listed in the 1948 Genocide Convention. In a 2006 paper Professor Martin Shaw reviewed the 1948 destruction of a large part of Arab society in Palestine, in an international historic perspective on genocide,[22] addressing the question of intention to destroy a group as emerging from the complex, changing circumstantial logics of war and occupation, which he applied to the intention causing the German genocide of the Jews and also to Stalin’s genocides (of Kulaks, Tartars, Chechens and Ingush) as well as genocidal practices in Armenia, Romania, Italy, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, India and Pakistan. Shaw argued that forced population relocation of the type involved in the above-mentioned genocides — and also in the course of the Palestinian Nakba of 1948 — were part of a genocidal process because breaking up territorial concentrations of people was to threaten the destruction of the communities themselves.[23] Shaw’s point was that it is not necessary to demonstrate a completely pre-formed, consistent genocidal intention on the part of Zionist leaders — the relationship between preformed policy and contingent adaptation, and central leadership and other actors, are empirical questions, not criteria of genocide. His further point was that deportation was by definition enforced — how indeed could it not be, and how could people not resist? How could those violently enforcing the deportation not know this, and therefore not have the intent of the destruction of the group?

The above points regarding intent refer to the 1948 Nakba but apply also to the 1967 Naksa (300 000 deportees). In addition, the ongoing killing — albeit on a smaller scale than currently in Gaza, of Palestinians in militarily controlled concentrations like Gaza and various concentrated conurbations in the West Bank, form what Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has termed an ongoing, ‘incremental genocide’.[24] The ICJ has now confirmed that genocide is plausibly taking place in the current destruction of Gaza and its people. This is congruent with the scholarly studies on this particular topic. Yet the German government through its Foreign and Economic Development and Climate Ministers, as well as through its official cabinet announcements, says that the charge is baseless. Either these ministers and the German cabinet are ignorant of the central issues in applying international law to repression and resistance in Gaza, or they are aware of this but remain in a state of cognitive dissonance (a form of mendacity).

German complicity in censoring public protests

Germany’s support for Israel in the present conjuncture should come as no surprise. The following collaborationist practices between the states of Israel and Germany reveal Germany’s ideological interests in maintaining the myths of Israel as the ‘only-democracy-in-the-middle-east’ and of Israel’s ‘right to defend’. This interest is based on Germany having to atone for its sins through acquiescing to whatever Israel regards as paramount for its ‘right to exist as a Jewish state’.

In memory of the holocaust, already prior to German reunification, the Federal Republic acknowledged its special responsibility for Israel’s security as a Jewish state. The rationale for this support was — and still is — the responsibility to protect Israel from critical ideological practices, on the assumption that critique of Israel and Zionism is antisemitism in disguise.

In 2004 the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC)[25] — in which Germany played a key role — developed a working definition of antisemitism (referred to by the Department for Research and Information on Antisemitism [RIAS Berlin][26] — formed in 2015 — under ‘operating principles’) with state, civil society and non-governmental organisation (NGO) participation.

This definition exceptionalises antisemitism within the genre of racism, i.e. it makes antisemitism a special form of racism, which is consistent with Rothberg’s concept of competitive memory. It represented the beginning of a process that culminated with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which exemplifies critiques of Israel (a Jewish collectivity), including rejection of a Jewish state, as antisemitic.[27] Significantly, the IHRA interpellates anti-semitism through a lense on the holocaust, assuming that the Jewish nation requires political sovereignty in its own state to survive future genocidal attacks. According to Rothberg the perceived risk of genocide arises from the perception (in the popular imagination especially in Europe, Israel and North America) of the holocaust as a unique, sui generis event. This is congruent with essentialist Zionist notions of an eternal Jewish ethnos[28] and an eternal, immutable antisemitism that constantly lurks ready to attack the Jewish ethnos (like a virus).[29]

Anti-Zionism is equated as antisemitic because it struggles against the regime that makes Israel exclusively the nation state of those interpellated as Jews. In this competitive memory discourse ‘Israel’ is an immutable code for ‘Jew’.

The IHRA guidelines have been applied in Germany to silence many critics of Israel (including Jewish critics), through allegations of antisemitism.

In 2006 the late Jewish journalist Hajo Meyer (a holocaust survivor) known for his anti-Zionist viewpoints was disinvited from speaking[30] at the Heilige Geist Church in Frankfurt, following pressure from the Zionist lobby. In 2010 Jewish scholars Ilan Pappe and Norman Finkelstein (children of holocaust survivors) were disinvited from speaking by respectively the City of Munich and the Trinitatus Church (Berlin).[31] In the same year Iris Hefets, an Israeli-born psychoanalyst living in Germany, and a leading figure in the anti-Zionist Jewish Voices organisation, published an article[32] in Tageszeitung (Taz) critiquing the holocaust as a semi-mystical religion, weaponized to smear critics of Israel’s politics towards the Palestinian people, as antisemites. For this she was subjected to an inquisition in absentia.[33] Reflecting a widely published viewpoint one scholar on the subject of antisemitism decried Hefet’s article as an example of the ‘new antisemitism’.[34] Following this, in 2016 Jewish Voices’ bank closed its bank account.

In 2017 the German state endorsed the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism.[35] In 2018 the Bundestag referred to the IHRA definition in its motion ‘fighting antisemitism resolutely’, and the state created the Office for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism,[36] supported by all parties except the Left party.[37] In 2019 the Bundestag voted in support of a motion that the BDS movement was antisemitic.[38] The right-leaning, Eurosceptic and Islamaphobic Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party abstained as it wanted BDS banned. The Left party voted against the motion and proposed a counter motion to oppose BDS and to work for political solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict based on UN Security Council resolutions.[39]

Pro Palestine demonstration, Muenster. SOURCE: tageschau.de

In early-2019, following requests from the Israeli government, three Israeli anti-Zionist activists (who had protested at a 2017 Humboldt university meeting[40] addressed by Israeli parliamentarian Aliza Lavie[41) were put on trial for trespassing — in 2020 they were acquitted but one was found guilty of assault. In 2020 the student council of the University of Muenster declared Palaestina Antikolonial[42] (a student and youth organisation of Palestinians and German solidarity activists opposing the colonial oppression of the Palestinian people) an antisemitic group and therefore barred from organising on the campus. Since the 2019 Bundestag resolution that BDS is an antisemitic movement the German cultural ideological state apparatuses have been censoring[43] the works of artists who either support BDS or at the very least are critical of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinian people — like novelist Kamila Shamsie, poet Kae Tempest, musicians Young Fathers, rapper Talib Kwelli, visual artist Walid Raad and philosopher Achille Mbembe.

The (estimated) 100 000 strong Palestinian community[44] living in Germany, which is socially and culturally marginalised,[45] is subject to the same censorship. This became evident especially during protests that were held in 2021 (during IDF attacks on the non-violent Great March of Return, Gaza) and intensified in the protests by Palestinians in the aftermath of 7 October 2023 and the ongoing Israeli bombardment of Gaza. During 2021 rallies protesting Israel’s then-bombing and shooting of Gazans were broken up by police under the pretext of preventing antisemitism.[46] During November 2023 police detained some demonstrators and removed posters and placards using arbitrary criteria (i.e. their discretion) as to whether these people were inciting antisemitism or whether these posters articulated antisemitic discourse.[47] In February 2024 white Germans participating in a mass protest (100 000 were estimated to have attended) against the far-right in Germany pushed out Palestinians who had joined them with their Palestinian flags and posters unfurled.[48] Isolated as a group they were soon surrounded by police, told to lower their voices and blocked from joining the main group. This illustrates the extent to which the code ‘Israel’ equals ‘Jews’ has been internalised in German popular consciousness. It also shows the power of the German ideological state apparatuses in interpellating anti-Zionists as antisemites.

Psycho-social function of competitive memory in Germany

Rothberg’s idea of ‘competitive memory’ should provide a framework for understanding the emotional/psychological power of the discourse code of ‘Israel’ equals ‘Jews’, as it plays itself out in contemporary Germany, particularly in the discourses of the German state but also sometimes on the street.

His concept of ‘shared memory’ refers to a discourse that may have been initiated by individuals directly participant in the remembered event (in this case the German genocide of European Jewry), but where that memory has been mediated through networks of communication institutions[49] of the state and also social groupings of civil society. The IHRA definition of antisemitism is the discourse promoted and imposed by institutions of the Israeli and German states, that has ‘landed’ on individuals in civil society (i.e. a realm at a distance from ideological state apparatuses).

Drawing on Freud, Rothberg reflected that ‘screen memory’ functioned as a code for memory of events that cannot be approached directly; the screen memory for Germany is the perceived exceptional suffering of Jewish people.[50] Here screen memory functions to close off other lines of communication (i.e. about the genocide encapsulated in the Palestinian Nakba, Naksa and all the moments-of-killing between 1967 and the present in historical Palestine).[51] At the level of the individual, screen memory ‘stands in’ for more painful memory that it displaces from consciousness.

The ideas of ‘shared memory’ and ‘screen memory’ could be applied to answering the question why the historical memory of the Palestinian Nakba is erased from the collective German memory, something that Hefets approached from a psychological perspective in her article ‘Journey to Auschwitz’. She reflected that turning the German genocide of the Jews into an exceptional event, an act of God even, renders it impervious to rational debate and established on a psychological level the Germans as the eternal perpetrators and the Jews as the eternal victims. The psychological impact of this on both Germans and Jews is that because ‘Auschwitz is surrounded by a sacred aura’ that precludes rational interrogation, ‘then it is no longer necessary to confront one’s own potential to become a perpetrator’. ‘If the holocaust is so holy then one is allowed only to walk on tip toes.’ Through this awareness Germans are able to come to a comfortable arrangement with the past, and as long as they practice the rituals that accompany this religious aura they cannot be accused of antisemitism. Central to these rituals is not to raise any questions about Israeli policies towards the people of Palestine. Guilt about the past and fear about the consequences of raising questions about Israel, help to corral German officials either into silence, or fawning support for almost anything that Israel deems to be its national security need.

Lending weight to the notion of the oppressive German collective guilt was a 2015 comment by an Israeli official[52] in its Berlin embassy that maintaining German guilt about the holocaust helps Israel. This psychological guilt is closely related to and driven by an underlying fear that one could be exposed as a perpetrator, by being guilty of antisemitism if one says the wrong thing or speaks out of turn. Zionist thought police and German antisemitism commissars diligently patrol the boundaries of permissible discourse about Israel and its policies, as demonstrated in the inquisition into Hefets and the Taz article.

Nevertheless, currently there is the unintended consequence of German pushback (by elements within the AfD party) at being interpellated as the children of perpetual perpetrators. This pushback works alongside AfD’s support for whatever Israel deems it in its national interest to do. AfD’s strong support for the state of Israel happened alongside a 2017 critique by one of its leaders of the ‘culture of guilt’[53] in respect of the holocaust, that he claimed has been imposed on Germans. He called for the removal of the holocaust memorial monument in Berlin, arguing that Nazism was a pimple on top of a thousand-year glorious German history. Gabrielle Nissam, in a perceptive 2019 article,[54] echoing Hefets’ point, implies an emerging collective psychological pushback against a Zionist and Jewish-imposed guilt complex on all Germans, contributing to the growth of the AfD, but observes that the AfD is not a classical neo-Nazi party: it proclaims itself philosemitic and fraternizes with Israel.

Rothberg‘s concepts of shared memory and multidirectional memory are useful for making sense of the current complexity of German support for Israel, resistance to being labelled perpetual perpetrators, simultaneous of support for a free press and public debate and yet cognitive dissonance about the facts regarding settler colonialism and its violent occupation of historic Palestine.

Conclusion

Guilt and fear-and-loathing are the primary unconscious drivers of the German state’s cognitive dissonance about a genocide unfolding under its eyes. But this problematic state of awareness does not apply to all across the country.

In response to the 2020 banning of Palaestina Antikolonial from the Muenster University campus, Palestine solidarity movement formations in Germany and abroad protested at the curtailment of freedom of speech and suppression of critique of Israel’s policies towards Palestinians. Thirteen German-based Palestine solidarity organisations[55] as well as organisations affiliated to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM)[56] (that developed after Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in the 1980s), based in Palestine and organised by Palestinians, issued a letter of protest. ISM also has a strong structure in the San Francisco Bay Area [57] of California, in the US, which publicly protested the actions of the Muenster university student council. Within Germany solidarity organisations in the cities of Magdeburg (Zusammen Kämpfen),[58] Augsburg (Antifa Jugend),[59] Schwaben (Rote Jugend),[60] Siegen (Internationale Jugendgruppe),[61] Duisburg (Netzwerk gegen Rechts)[62] and the state of North Rhine Westphalia (Palaestina spricht NRW),[63] as well as organisations based in Denmark, the UK, Canada, France, the US and Spain signed the protest letter. Samidoun Deutschland[64] and Studenten gegen Rechte Hetze[65] also signed the letter.

In relation to the censoring of artists referred to earlier, the December 2020 statement[66] by 42 German public cultural and research institutions should also be mentioned. The statement announced their initiative to defend a climate of diverse voices, critical reflection and appreciation of difference in ‘their common struggle against antisemitism, racism, right-wing extremism and any form of violent religious fundamentalism.’ The signatories called for an end to censorship of artists aligned to the BDS movement in the interests of cultural and scientific freedom of speech, adding that they also opposed the BDS cultural and academic boycott of Israel. But their main concern expressed was what they saw as the shutting down of free speech in Germany.

The interpellation of anti-Zionism as antisemitism by the German ideological state apparatuses is a contradictory process. The strongest and principled opposition to this interpellation comes from civil society organisations and solidarity activists in the country, who oppose the narrative as false and correctly call out its sheer mendacity. These individuals and groupings albeit small in numbers appear to be widespread across the country.

Beneath the formal party-political system are the civil society solidarity groupings that challenge the interpellation of anti-Zionist-equals-antisemite through street protests, opinion editorials and other BDS supporting campaigns. According to the German chapter of the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)[67] there are many local groups of citizens acting in solidarity with Palestinians and working for peace in Israel/Palestine and that most major German cities had one or two such groups. It is against these citizens’ groupings that state ideological apparatuses act to suppress their messages and exercise control over the narrative regarding Israel and Palestine. It is to these groupings that PSC CT should extend its support and engage in solidarity protests against the state of Germany, to help open up the space for free speech and public debate.

Paul Hendler, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 29 February 2024.

[1] See United Nations (UN), 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, available on-line at: https://www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/convention-prevention-and-punishment-crime-genocide

[2] See Daniel Goss, 2015 A Brutal Genocide in Colonial Africa Finally Gets its Deserved Recognition, available on-line at: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/brutal-genocide-colonial-africa-finally-gets-its-deserved-recognition-180957073/. See BBC, 2021 Germany officially recognises colonial-era Namibia genocide, available on-line at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-57279008. Germany also announced financial aid of more than $1,34 billion, which many Namibian activists said was insufficient because it did not address access to land currently.

[3] See Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of European Jewry, available on line at: https://www.amazon.com/Destruction-European-Jews-First-Facsimile/dp/1684223520. See Appendix B Statistics of Jewish Dead, available on-line at: https://separating.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Statistics-Jewish-Dead.pdf

[4] See Wiener Holocaust Library (exhibition), 2019–2020 Forgotten Victims: The Nazi Genocide of the Roma and Sinti, available on-line at: https://wienerholocaustlibrary.org/exhibition/forgotten-victims-the-nazi-genocide-of-the-roma-and-sinti/

[5] See Marcel Furstenau, 2023 LGBTQ People: Germany’s long-forgotten victims of the Nazis, available on-line at: https://www.dw.com/en/lgbtq-people-germanys-long-forgotten-victims-of-the-nazis/a-64533968

[6] See Lennart Lens, 2019 The Forgotten Holocaust: the systematic genocide on the Slavic people by the Nazis during the Second World War, Bachelor thesis, Universiteit Leiden, available on-line at: https://studenttheses.universiteitleiden.nl/handle/1887/75106

[7] See Dirk Moses, 2000 An Antipodean genocide? The origins of the genocidal moment in the colonization of Australia, which explores the genocide of indigenous people by settler colonists, using Australia as a case, where violent indigenous resistance provokes killing-events (‘moments’) by settlers. Available on-line at: https://www.dirkmoses.com/uploads/7/3/8/2/7382125/moses_antipodean_genocide.pdf

[8] See Michael Rothberg, 2009 Multidirectional Memory — Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonisation, which provides a scholarly basis for understanding the psycho-social impact of narratives of remembrance of past traumas. Available on-line for purchase at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Multidirectional-Memory-Remembering-Holocaust-Decolonization/dp/080476218X. See my earlier articles Contesting Zionist identity claims, for more detail on applying Rothberg’s concept of multidirectional memory to the history of the German genocide of European Jewry.

[9] See German Practice in International Law, available on-line at: https://gpil.jura.uni-bonn.de/2024/01/germany-rushes-to-declare-intention-to-intervene-in-the-genocide-case-brought-by-south-africa-against-israel-before-the-international-court-of-justice/

[10] See PBS News Hour, 2024 Read the full application bringing genocide charges against Israel at UN top court, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/read-the-full-application-bringing-genocide-charges-against-israel-at-un-top-court

[11] See SABC News (video), 2024 South Africa presents its case against Israel at the ICJ, available on-line at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f_yoal4gx8

[12] See SABC News (video), 2024 Israel presents its case at the ICJ, available on-line at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=939hSvcH0qM&t=4s

[13] See SABC News (video), 2024 ICJ ruling on SA’s case against Israel, available on-line at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgIQ3uWhTnQ

[14] See Germany’s response as reported by Al Jazeera, available on-line at: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2024/1/26/world-reacts-to-icj-ruling-on-south-africas-genocide-case-against-israel

[15] See SABC, 2024 Israel presents its case at the ICJ, available on-line at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=939hSvcH0qM&t=2s Israel claimed that through its Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) organisational structure it had been facilitating humanitarian efforts including funding from UN and donor states, the entry of aid (which it claimed Hamas was stealing), medical services (through four field hospitals, new ambulances and air drops) and claimed that it was mitigating harm to non-combatants through what it referred to as ‘the evacuation of civilians’. This evacuation was initiated through warning tapping on roofs of homes and phone calls to households. It alleged that the practice by Hamas of using civilians and civilian areas to ‘shield’ its military activities was the main cause of loss of civilian life.

[16] See 2008 Speech by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel to the Knesset in Jerusalem, available on-line at: https://web.archive.org/web/20211217140259/http:/www.knesset.gov.il/description/eng/doc/speech_merkel_2008_eng.pdf

[17] The defence of democratic rights against Islamo-fascism is articulated by Middle East Info.org, available on line at: https://www.middle-east-info.org/gateway/supportisrael/index.htm This site is hyperlinked from Mahal, an IDF volunteer recruiting organisation, available on-line at: https://www.mahal-idf-volunteers.org/index.html (click ‘Middle East Info’ button and then click ‘Support Israel over tyranny’ link).

[18] See ICJ, 2004 Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, available on-line at https://www.icj-cij.org/case/131 The court ruling reads ‘Palestinian territories which, before the armed conflict of 1967, lay to the east of the 1949 Armistice demarcation line (or “Green Line”) and were occupied (emphasis added) by Israel during that conflict’. Logically, ‘occupied territory’ would also include the territory of Gaza which is to the west of the armistice line.

[19] See Article 42 of the Hague Regulations, available on-line at: https://books.openedition.org/iheid/93, which defined ‘occupation’ to mean a ‘territory ….. actually placed under the authority of the hostile army’.

[20] See Article 43 of the Hague Regulations, available on-line at: https://hhi.harvard.edu/publications/article-43-hague-regulations-and-peace-operations-twenty-first

[21] See UN General Assembly (GA) Resolution 2649 of 1970, available on line at: https://separating.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/UN-General-Assembly-Resolution-2649-November-1970.pdf, which permits ‘any means’ of struggle as justified by the end of national self-determination (see colour coded text). See also UN GA Resolution 35/35 of 1980, available on-line at: https://separating.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/Right-of-peoples-to-self-determination-GA-resolution-Question-of-Palestine.pdf, which addresses human rights, international humanitarian law, the Palestine question and settlements, and explicitly includes the right of colonised people to resort to armed struggle (emphasis added) in their fight for self-determination (see colour coded text).

[22] Shaw, Martin 2006 Palestine in an international historical perspective on genocide, available on-line at: https://separating.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/palestine-in-an-international-historical-perspective-on-genocide-final.pdf

[23] In doing this Shaw incorporated ethnic cleansing as an example of genocide rather than as a practice separate from genocide.

[24] Pappe, Ilan 2023 Using the Right Language: The ‘Incremental Genocide’ of the Palestinians Continues, available on-line at: https://www.palestinechronicle.com/using-the-right-language-the-incremental-genocide-of-the-palestinians-continues/

[25] See EUMC, available on-line at: https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/en/european-industrial-relations-dictionary/european-monitoring-centre-racism-and-xenophobia

[26] See RIAS, available on-line at: https://report-antisemitism.de/en/rias-berlin/

[27] See IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism, available on-line at: https://holocaustremembrance.com/resources/working-definition-antisemitism

[28] See Sand, Shlomo 2009 The Invention of the Jewish People, available on-line at: https://www.amazon.com/Invention-Jewish-People-Shlomo-Sand/dp/1844676234

[29] See Rubin, Jennifer 2023 Lipstadt: ‘Antisemitism is like a virus for which there is no cure’ available on-line at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/12/26/lipstadt-antisemitism-virus/

[30] See False friends of Israel, available on-line at: https://www.palaestina-portal.eu/Honestly_Concerned/Honestly_Concerned_jagdaktion_neudeck_melzer_meyer%20.htm For more detailed information about Germany’s cancelling voices critical of Israel from the public domain see my previous article, ‘Inverted antisemitism in Germany and the United Kingdom’.

[31] See Fatollah-Najed, Ali 2010 Germany’s Fear of Finkelstein, available on-line at: https://www.palestinechronicle.com/germanys-fear-of-finkelstein/

[32] See Hefets, Iris 2010 Pilgrimage to Auschwitz, English translation available on-line at: https://separating.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Debate-Holocaust-Remembrance-Englisch.pdf

[33] In response the Jewish Council in Germany and the Jewish Congregation in Berlin organised a panel (including several major German newspapers) to provide guidelines for media criticism of Israel, during which the Taz editor walked out saying that the panel had defamed her and a few vocally critical Jews present were taken out by the police.

[34] Heni, Clemens 2010 Propagating feel-good anti-Semitism in the tageszeitung (TAZ), available on-line at: https://web.archive.org/web/20181229171515/http:/www.clemensheni.net/propagating-feel-good-anti-semitism-in-the-tageszeitung-taz/

[35] See Chase, Jefferson 2017 Germany adopts anti-Semitism definition, available on-line at: https://www.dw.com/en/german-government-adopts-international-anti-semitism-definition/a-40608166

[36] See Klein, Felix 2018 Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism, available on-line at: https://www.bmi.bund.de/EN/ministry/commissioners/antisemitism/antisemitism-node.html The office of antisemitism is manned by a commissioner (Mr Klein) who can investigate reports of antisemitism and recommend action and sanctions, thus inserting the state bureaucracy into a process of determining the truth or falsity of identity claims, a process which (following Rothberg) requires sensitivity to the reality of multidirectional memory processes.

[37] See DW, 2018 Germany for tougher anti-Semitism laws available on-line at: https://www.dw.com/en/german-parliament-creates-anti-semitism-commissioner-post/a-42201713

[38] See Nasr, Joseph and Alkousaa, Riham 2019 Germany designates BDS Israel boycott movement as anti-Semitic, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-bds-israel-idUSKCN1SN204/

[39] Significantly, this is the position of global BDS movement too, but the Left party seem either to ignore that or not to know about it (manifesting cognitive dissonance and mendacity).

[40] See Sinai, Stavit Abusalma, Majed and Barkan, Ronnie 2019 Trial update: confronting apartheid in Berlin’s criminal court, available on-line at: https://mondoweiss.net/2019/05/confronting-apartheid-criminal/

[41] Lavie was a member of the Knesset’s Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee which oversaw Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2014 (code-named ‘Operation Protective Edge’, front line reporting about which is available on-line at: https://www.amazon.com/51-Day-War-Ruin-Resistance/dp/156858511X)

[42] See Palaestina Antikolonial (facebook page), available on-line at: https://www.facebook.com/PalantiMS/

[43]See Eno, Brian 2021 Artists like me are being censored in Germany — because we support Palestinian rights, available on-line at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/04/artists-censored-germany-palestinian-rights ‘Ideological state apparatus’ is a term coined by Marxist structuralist Louis Althusser to identify the role of state departments/structures in the generation and reproduction of social identities, through state control over and funding of educational processes and more broadly cultural expressions. See Althusser, Louis (undated) Ideology and Ideological State Apparatus — Notes towards an investigation, available on-line at: https://mforbes.sites.gettysburg.edu/cims226/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Week-3b-Louis-Althusser.pdf

[44] See Unicomb, Matt 2022 Inside Berlin’s famous Palestinian neighbourhood — Palestinians have become deeply ingrained in German society, influencing food, politics and working to preserve their heritage, available on-line at: https://www.middleeasteye.net/discover/inside-famous-palestinian-berlin-germany-neighbourhood

[45] See Lina VK, Daliah 2021 Stigmatized But Not Silenced: Growing up Palestinian in Germany, available on-line at: https://mondoweiss.net/2021/06/stigmatized-but-not-silenced-growing-up-palestinian-in-germany/

[46] See DW, 2021 German police break up pro-Palestinian rallies, available on-line at: https://www.dw.com/en/israel-gaza-crisis-police-break-up-pro-palestinian-rallies-in-german-cities/a-57540780

[47] See Schaer, Cathrin 2023 German police crack-down on pro-Palestine rallies, raising alarm — Officers seized several banners at a recent Berlin protest, fuelling fears that free expression does not extend to the Palestinian cause, available on-line at: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/11/10/germany-gaza-protests-crackdown

[48] See Abdo, Simsim 2024 Pro-Palestine protesters say they were shunned at German antifascist march — Pro-Palestine supporters tried to join a recent march against the far-right, but say they were discriminated and pushed around, available on-line at: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2024/2/2/pro-palestine-protesters-say-they-were-shunned-at-german-antifascist-march

[49] Following Althusser, we can usefully refer to these as ideological state apparatuses.

[50] Rothberg, Michael 2009 Multidirectional Memory, page 176, quotes Israeli journalist and historian Tom Segev’s The Seventh Million (pages 329 to 330) reference to Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion’s presenting the holocaust as the only crime that has no parallel in human history. Available on-line at: https://www.amazon.com/Seventh-Million-Israelis-Holocaust/dp/0805066608 . Rothberg also applies screen memory to reflect on how a dominant ideology like United States (US) exceptionalism elides other traumatic events in US history, like the genocide of American Indians and the Vietnamese, to emphasise the state’s moral identity. Similarly, it could be argued that for Germans this focus on Jewish exceptionalism occludes consciousness of the genocide of the Herero and Nama and responsibility for repairing their socio-psychic damage.

[51] Rothberg also notes that the concept of screen memory can also help understand the function of ‘opening up’ lines of communication with the disparate past.

[52] See Atzmon, Gilad 2015 Israeli diplomat: Maintaining German guilt about the holocaust helps Israel, available on-line at: https://www.redressonline.com/2015/07/israeli-diplomat-maintaining-german-guilt-about-the-holocaust-helps-israel/

[53] See Dearden, Lizzie 2017 German AfD politician ‘attacks Holocaust memorial’ and says Germans should be more positive about Nazi past, available on-line at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-afd-bjoern-hoecke-berlin-holocaust-memorial-shame-history-positive-nazi-180-turnaround-a7535306.html

[54] See Nissim, Gabrielle 2019 The Weight of Guilt in Germany, available on-line at: https://en.gariwo.net/editorials/the-weight-of-guilt-in-germany-20875.html

[55] See Northern California Palestine Solidarity Movement, (undated) Joint Statement: Solidarity with Palestine Antikolonial in Münster, Germany, available on-line at: https://www.ism-norcal.org/joint-statement-solidarity-with-palestine-antikolonial-in-munster-germany/

[56] See International Solidarity Movement, (undated) Frequently Asked Questions, available on-line at: https://palsolidarity.org/about/faq/

[57] See Northern California Palestine Solidarity Movement, (undated) About Us, available at: https://www.ism-norcal.org/about-us/

[58] See Zusammen Kämpfen, available on-line at: http://zusammenkaempfen.bplaced.net/

[59] See Antifa Jugend, available on-line at: https://twitter.com/antifajugendaux/status/1386345383950012418

[60] See Rote Jugend, available on-line at: https://www.instagram.com/rjschwaben/

[61] See Internationale Jugendgruppe, available on-line at: https://www.facebook.com/internationalegruppe/

[62] See Netzwerk gegen Rechts, available on-line at: https://netzgegenrechts-oberberg.org/

[63] See Palaestina Spricht, available on-line at: https://www.palaestinaspricht.de/

[64] See Samidoun Deutschland, available on-line at: https://www.facebook.com/SamidounDeutschland/

[65] See Studenten gegen Rechte Hetze, available on-line at: https://www.facebook.com/notes/417600922562649/

[66] See Plaedoyer fuer Weltoffenheit, (undated) Statement by the Initiative GG 5.3 Weltoffenheit, available on-line at: https://separating.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/201210_PlaedoyerFuerWeltoffenheit.pdf

[67] See ICAHD, 2020 ICAHD and the Palestine Solidarity Movement in Germany, available on-line at: https://icahd.org/2020/03/20/icahd-and-the-palestine-solidarity-movement-in-germany/

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