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Boycott Calls Against Israel
Game Changer for German Universities

 

26.03.2020

Editorial Note

 

The German association of public and government-recognized universities, known as the German Rectors' Conference (HRK), plans to make the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism mandatory on all German universities.  Member institutions are represented by their executive boards and rectorates at the HRK General Assembly.

 

This resolution comes after last year, as IAM reported in May 2019, the German Bundestag had passed a resolution, Motion 19/10191

describing the BDS campaign against Israel as anti-Semitic, with some of the BDS slogans recalled Nazi propaganda. 

 

Titled "No place for anti-Semitism," the resolution was passed by the HRK general assembly on 19 November 2019. It was one month after the terrorist attack in Halle (Saale) on Yom Kippur, and the HRK general assembly was "horrified," marking the increase of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany of at least 1,799 cases in 2018. The HRK declared, "There is no place for anti-Semitism at German universities." The HRK resolved to support the resolution "Against BDS and all anti-Semitism," based on the IHRA definition, because it "provides a clear basis for recognizing hatred of Jews and is therefore an important tool in combating it. Israeli anti-Semitism is also taken into account." The HRK Emphasized that "Jewish life on campus must not be endangered; Jewish researchers, teachers and students must be able to feel safe at all universities." The HRK resolved to "welcome this anti-Semitism definition and would like to see it established at all university locations." 

 

Not surprisingly, several groups of pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel academic-activists, with members of Jewish and Israeli descent, petitioned against the HRK resolution.  Prof. Rolf Verleger, an emeritus psychologist in the Department of Neurology at the University of Lübeck, claimed the "IHRA definition is highly controversial because it can be easily used to silence criticism of Israel and ban speakers." According to this group, "persons who wouldn't be allowed to speak at a German university if this definition is adopted: Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Hannah Arendt, Marek Edelman (leader of the Warsaw uprising and anti-Zionist), Naomi Klein, Pinchas Elijahu Verleger (uncle of one the authors of this petition, an anti-Zionist who was shot in the street by the SS)." For them, German universities have already set an example by launching the campaign "Universities for openness, tolerance and against xenophobia" in 2015, which called for decisive action in favor of a tolerant and cosmopolitan society.  The petitioners maintained that adopting the IHRA definition "neither serves the cause of combating anti-Semitism, nor does it protect its victims" and urged "to fight anti-Semitism while respecting legitimate support for Palestinian rights, without infringing the basic rights of free speech, expression and political association, while zealously protecting democratic spaces." 

 

Another group, the Israeli radical-leftist Academia for Equality (A4E), also wrote the HRK to express concerns, maintaining the IHRA definition "dangerously mislabels and limits the possibilities of support for Palestinian rights," because "it conflates support for Palestinian rights with anti-Zionism, and it conflates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism." They note, however, the "rise in anti-Semitism as well as other forms of racism around the world, including in Germany, is a cause for grave concern."  They argue that the IHRA definition clause which states "Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation," forces supporters of Palestinian rights to prove they are not anti-Semites. According to the IHRA definition, "if one criticizes Israel in a way allegedly involving a double standard, he or she is an anti-Semite. If one favors a binational or a democratic one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he or she is an anti-Semite. So is one, when he or she blames Israel for institutionalized racism or criticizes the lack of separation of religion and state in Israel, which leads to severe discrimination of women and people of LGBTQ communities, as well as non-Jewish communities in Israel." They sum up that "As a result, the definition creates an unjustified bias in favor of political-Zionist Israel and against the Palestinians."

 

In similar veins, Professor the Baroness Haleh Afshar OBE, president of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES), has written a letter to the HRK, on behalf of BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom.  In her letter, she stated that BRISMES condemns antisemitism and all forms of racism but political groups have "weaponized" the IHRA definition in ways that threaten freedom of speech, which sometimes "intimidate academics who are engaged in activities that are critical of the policies of the Israeli government but that are not antisemitic."  She also noted, "with deep concern," that the HRK resolution against the BDS campaign was in stark contrast with the BRISMES motion 

reaffirming the right of BRISMES members to "engage in an open and transparent discussion about BDS, in an atmosphere free from intimidation and censorship," adopted in 2015.   Interestingly, however, Afshar, who teaches politics and women's studies at the University of York, backed an appeal by the York branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in 2009 that sent volunteers from North Yorkshire to Gaza.

 

While all the petitioning groups ignored the fact that the IHRA definition clearly states that "criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic," they also did not bring concrete examples to demonstrate their arguments.

 

Nevertheless, the following case demonstrates how serious the German police takes Palestinian threats. Earlier this month, Khaled Barakat, a Palestinian activist, was barred for the second time from entering Germany. According to the German police, he was considered "a security risk" because of his insisting that Israel has no right to exist. Barakat posted on Facebook "Palestinian resistance will continue until the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine from the river to the sea." Israeli experts noted that Barakat is a member of the Palestinian Popular Front terrorist organization and a BDS activist in Europe. This case indicates that negating Israel's right to exist is considered anti-Semitic in Germany, as per the IHRA definition. 

 

Worth noting that the groups petitioning the HRK stated they oppose anti-Semitism. However, insisting that anti-Semitism should be part of the general perception of racism and xenophobia, is an old trick of the left which resents the uniqueness of the Holocaust.  Of course, it makes it easy for them to ignore the dramatic rise in anti-Semitic incidents - as indicated by the HRK in Germany and beyond.   Even more telling, Arabs, or Palestinians have perpetuated many of the violent anti-Semitic attacks.

 

It would have behooved the above scholars to condemn these attacks.  However, rather than take a moral position, they have chosen to hide behind the defense of “academic freedom.”

 

 

 


 

 

 

  

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Claus 
Date: Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 12:42 AM
Subject: Petition: OBJECTION against language rules for universities
To:

Dear friends,
The Conference of German University Presidents (HRK) plans to make the IHRA definition of antisemitism obligatory for all German universities. The IHRA definition is highly controversial because it can be easily used to silence criticism of Israel and ban speakers. If any of you has a connection to a university, please say so in the "Comment" field ("Why is the petition important to you?").
The pictures next to the German text show persons who would't be allowed to speak at a German university if this definition is adopted: Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Hannah Arendt, Marek Edelman (leader of the Warsaw uprising and anti-Zionist), Naomi Klein, Pinchas Elijahu Verleger (uncle of one the authors of this petition, an anti-Zionist who was shot in the street by the SS).
https://www.openpetition.de/petition/online/objection-against-language-rules-for-universities

Greetings
Claus




==================================================


OBJECTION AGAINST LANGUAGE RULES FOR UNIVERSITIES




Every form of discrimination is reprehensible: this is also true of anti-Semitism, that is, discrimination against Jews. This is also the assumption behind the resolution "No place for anti-Semitism" (1) adopted by the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) of 19 November 2019.

This is precisely why we object to two of the four paragraphs of this resolution. There, the adoption of the "IHRA definition" of anti-Semitism is demanded, a definition propagated for clearly political purposes and which is highly controversial. Approved by the German Bundestag and Federal Government, this definition should now be "established in all places of higher learning", in other words, this definition should now become the compulsory basis for our speech, thought and research in all such institutions.

Our objection to this HRK resolution is based on two grounds, one being more formal in nature while the other is a question of substance. To begin with, we contest the HRK's assumption that it can impose any sort of binding rules of speech upon institutions of higher education and further we protest against any concrete restrictions (e.g. bans on public demonstrations) associated with this "IHRA definition" which are already being applied to hinder public reflection upon Israel's policy of occupation, a policy which has been in place now for more than 50 years. This reflection being restricted is one which is oriented toward international law and universal human rights.

In both of these respects we see our fundamental freedoms of speech, teaching and research threatened. And that this threat emanates from the HRK, which calls itself "the voice of the universities" and which, quite rightly regards universities as the "centers of democratic culture, locus of dialogue and places of diversity" is particularly troubling. We see in this decision a blatant contradiction, one which has evidently escaped the attention of the last HRK General Assembly.

We therefore appeal to the President of the HRK and to all members of the HRK - i.e. to all rectors of the 268 institutions of higher education in Germany - to revise this resolution so as not to include any parts which go beyond the general condemnation of anti-Semitism and further not to allow the kinds of restrictions of speech prescribed above, restrictions which moreover are clearly inadequate as regulative and compulsory norms for the use of language at our universities.

We would therefore like to ask all those who are directly affected by this HRK resolution - our academic colleagues from all disciplines at German institutions of higher education - to support us in this effort. Support our OBJECTION with your signature to this petition addressed to the HRK leadership!

In the "Comment" field ("Why is the petition important to you?"), please enter your subject area and your (former) university.

(1) www.hrk.de/positionen/gesamtliste-beschluesse/beschluss/detail/kein-platz-fuer-antisemitismus/

Reason

Do our fundamental freedoms of freedom of speech, freedom of opinion and freedom of research and teaching also apply to our universities?

Whoever agrees with this statement needs no further justification in order to support the request outlined above. We ourselves have already explained our own motivation for this action in publicly published objections directed toward the HRK, giving both personal and more general arguments. The restrictions we mentioned concerning public reflection on the Israel/Palestine conflict which center on international law and human rights are not only a source of fear for the future but are already in our time a matter of increasingly prevalent practice, one which now could claim legitimacy through this HRK resolution.

See letters to the German Rectors' Conference chair by the initiators of this petition:

Georg Meggle www.heise.de/tp/features/Sprachregelung-fuer-unsere-Unis-Einspruch-4598877.html

Norman Paech www.heise.de/tp/features/Grundrecht-auf-freie-Meinungsaeusserung-und-Rede-ist-bedroht-4602337.html

Rolf Verleger www.heise.de/tp/features/Beschluss-der-HRK-zur-IHRA-Definition-von-Antisemitismus-4602268.html

Thank you for your support, Prof. Dr. Rolf Verleger from Lübeck







PROF. DR. ROLF PUBLISHER

* 1951 in Ravensburg, after studying, worked as a psychologist, of which the longest was at the University of Lübeck (1988-2017, retirement). My parents were survivors of the extermination of the Jews. I grew up in the Jewish religious tradition and turned away from orthodoxy at the age of 17. From the age of around 45 I spent a lot of time rebuilding the Jewish community in Lübeck and came to the Central Council. There I did not support the loyalty to Israel's militarism, since then I have written two books on the subject, I am a member of the Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East, and I founded the Alliance for the Ending of the Israeli Occupation (BIB; just renamed the Alliance for Justice between Israelis and Palestinians, GDP). More detailed: https://www.rolf-verleger.de/biographie/


Dr Miranda Pennell Alois Pichler Nicht öffentlich Mike Scott-Baumann David Mario Comedi Héctor Grad Syksy Räsänen Kobi Snitz Paul Neill Veronica Ferreri Martin O'Quigley Ann Kennedy Ilan Pappe Dror WARSCHAWSKI Nick Riemer Em. Prof. Herman De Ley Nicht öffentlich Bernard Spiegal John Hadley Patrick Darnes Christian Luczanits Neve Gordon Yossef Rapoport Naor Ben-Yehoyada professor Hagit Borer Dr Graham Dyer Valeria Racu Feyzi Ismail Michael Harris Nicht öffentlich Nicht öffentlich Lars Laamann Sai Englert Manjeet Ramgotra Vanja Hamzić Tim Pringle Karima Laachir Thomas Marois Lori Allen Lutz Marten Nicht öffentlich Yair Wallach Rashid Khalidi Stephen R. Shalom Lena Obermaier Avi Shlaim Brenna Bhandar Nicht öffentlich Adam Hanieh Nicht öffentlich Alessandra Mezzadri John Chalcraft Nicht öffentlich Gilbert Achcar Visiting Researcher Vida Samiian Nicht öffentlich Nicht öffentlich Nicht öffentlich Roger Edberg Dr. Siegfried Steinmann Rudolf Baumgartner Erdem Evren Asli Telli ABM Moshiur Rahman Gordon Feld Jürgen Margraf Muzaffer Kaya Andreas Keil Birgit Elisabeth Baumann Walton T. Roth Helga Dieter Gottfried Brandstäter Bodo Zibrowius Detlef Feldmann Angela Schaab Hildgard Maring Dr. Jakob Borchardt Isabelle Casel Hartmut Rolle Jacques Bude Johann Weng Ulrich Dannenbaum Sara Roy Helmut Bohn-Klein Dieter Endemann Joachim Meißner Inga Gelsdorf Dr. Dirk-M. Harmsen Dr.Uwe Heitz Dr. Raya Cohen Elizabeth Heineman Serge Grossvak Nicht öffentlich Dr. Gal Schkolnik Josiane Olff-Nathan Henri Eisendrath Prof. Dr. Terri Ginsberg Natalia Segui Perrine Olff-Rastegar Richard Falk Vida Samiian Manzar Foroohar Professor Rush Rehm Andrew S Bergerson Dr. Katy Fox-Hodess Nicht öffentlich Dominik Lorenz Dafna Hirsch Lena Bloch Steven Levine Jeanne Lichtenstein Fagnani Danièle GERVAIS-MARX José Molina Ayala Engin Isin Dr Federmann Georges Yoram Prof. Dr. Srirupa Roy Docteur Jean-Jacques PIK Jonathan Preminger Yuval Eylon Jean-François MARX Marie France HUGOT Michel Bilis (Une autre voix juive France) Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU Nicht öffentlich Pascal Lederer Martine olff-sommer Victor Ginsburgh Willie Van Peer Roy Wagner Erella Grassiani Colin Dayan Nomi Erteschik-Shir Nicht öffentlich Joel Beinin Nicht öffentlich Lisa Rofel Marc David Yakov Rabkin David Enoch Sonia DAYAN-HERZBRUN Ofer Aharony Dimitry Shevchenko Lior Levy Ilan Saban Wayne O'Neil Elsa Auerbach Essen Prof.Dr. Günter Törner Yosefa Loshitzky Dr. Anat Matar Micah Leshem Steinling Marc Susan Slyomovics Avner Ben-Amos James Cohen Donald Sassoon Yonathan (Jon) Anson Itamar Kastner Nicht öffentlich Gadi Algazi Daniel Boyarin Ofra Yeshua-Lyth Martine Kleinberg Cynthia Volkert LEGRAND Michel Ahlam Shibli Larry Haiven Debby Farber Qassem Massri Yael Politi Dr. Hilla Dayan Amos Goldberg Prof. Dr. Igor Primoratz Karl Essayan Lawrence Davidson Lillian Rosengarten Noam Chomsky Dr. Angelika Schneider


==========================================================



  • PETITION IN ZEICHNUNG - ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF HRK RESOLUTION
     

    at 14 Mar 2020 14:27

     

    Resolution of the HRK General Assembly of 19.11.2019

    [Cf. my previous message for the reason why I send this message]

    No place for anti-Semitism

    The HRK [Hochschulrektorenkonferenz = academies’ rectors’ conference] General Assembly is appalled by the terrorist attack in Halle/Saale on 9 October 2019, the day of the Jewish Day of Atonement, and by the increasing number of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany (at least 1799 in 2018 alone). The HRK opposes anti-Semitism in any form.

    There is no place for anti-Semitism at German universities. The HRK General Assembly supports the resolution "Against BDS[1] and all forms of anti-Semitism" adopted by the Young Forum of the German-Israeli Society, the Jewish Students' Union Germany, the free association of student bodies, the Student Council of Darmstadt University of Technology and the Student Council of Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt, as well as university groups close to the political parties, such as the Juso [young socialists] University Groups, the Liberal University Groups, Campus Grün and the Circle of Christian Democratic Students[2].

    German universities are centres of democratic culture, places of dialogue and places of diversity.[3] With the campaign "Universities open to the world against xenophobia" the universities have already set an example and called for clear commitments and decisive action in favour of a tolerant and cosmopolitan society.[4] In addition, the universities in Germany have a special historical responsibility to resolutely oppose all forms of anti-Semitism.

    The anti-Semitism definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) [5], which is also recognized by the German government [6], provides a clear basis for recognizing hatred of Jews and is thus an important tool in combating it. It also takes into account Israel-related anti-Semitism. The member universities of the German Rectors' Conference expressly welcome this definition of anti-Semitism and would like to see it established at all university locations. It is applied in their institutions and communicated to their members. Jewish life on campus must not be endangered; Jewish researchers, teachers and students must be able to feel safe at all universities. Research on anti-Semitism, its genesis and mode of action, corresponding curricula in studies and teaching, and the transfer of knowledge to multipliers and decision-makers are of paramount importance for the successful fight against anti-Semitism.

    Footnotes

    [1] BDS stands for "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions"; the German Bundestag, by accepting motion Ds. 19/10191 "To resolutely oppose the BDS movement - to combat anti-Semitism", decided to condemn the BDS campaign and the call to boycott Israeli goods or companies as well as Israeli scientists, artists or sportsmen and women (17.05.2019).
    [2] Cf. www.fzs.de/positionen/feminismus-antidiskriminierung/gegen-antisemitismus/
    [3] Resolution of the Senate of the German Rectors' Conference of 13 October 2016: The universities as central players in science and society. Key points on the role and challenges of the higher education system (status 2018), p. 1f. As a partner of the European association Universities for Enlightenment, the HRK has already explicitly committed itself to condemning anti-Semitism. Compare the statement of 13.12.2018 at www.u4e.eu/viennastatement
    [4] Universities open to the world - Against xenophobia: Nation-wide campaign by HRK member universities, www.hrk.de/presse/pressemitteilungen/pressemitteilung/meldung/weltoffene-hochschulen-gegen-fremdenfeindlichkeit-bundesweite-aktion-der-hrk-mitgliedshochschulen/ retrieved 15.10.2019
    [5] www.holocaustremembrance.com/de/node/196 retrieved 20.09.2019
    [6] www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/aussenpolitik/themen/kulturdialog/-/216610 retrieved 20.09.2019: "Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews that can express itself as hatred towards Jews. Anti-Semitism is directed in word or deed against Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, as well as against Jewish community institutions or religious bodies. In addition, the State of Israel, understood as a Jewish collective, may also be the target of such attacks."

    Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) followed by corrections made by Rolf Verleger

  • PETITION IN ZEICHNUNG - NEW SIGNATORIES
     

    at 14 Mar 2020 14:24

     

    Dear signatories,

    Triggered by the letter recently sent from the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies to the president of Germany’s conference of academic rectors (HRK), we made contact with Gilbert Achcar, professor at the SOAS University of London.
    Yesterday he became a signatory of this petition and inspired several other people to sign, such that overnight we have two dozen more signatories, including professors John Chalcraft, Lutz Marten, and Avi Shlaim from Great Britain, Karima Laachir from Australia, and Rashid Khalidi and Stephen R. Shalom from the U.S.A.
    At this moment, we are 1,627 signatories, including about 130 German professors and about 50 professors from abroad.

    Thanks to all of you! And let’s keep on raising our voices for freedom of speech in general, and for academic freedom in particular.

    Just yesterday I was asked whether the German text of the resolution by HRK could be translated to English, so everybody signing this English version of the petition may actually know what she/he objects to.
    I will send out that text in a separate message, due to limitations on message length imposed by this system.

    Stay healthy (zy gezind, as my ancestors used to say in Yiddish)
    Rolf Verleger

  • PETITION IN ZEICHNUNG - LETTER FROM BARONESS AFSHAR TO THE PRESIDENT OF GERMAN RECTORS’ CONFERENCE (HRK)
     

    at 09 Mar 2020 14:15

     

    Dear signatories of our petition,

    Since some time, the number of signatories of our petition has been stagnant. We are now 1587, of which about 130 are German professors.

    Yet today I got knowledge of a letter of February 26 to the HRK president. This letter may be found here:
    www.brismes.ac.uk/images/BRISMES2020/caf_26022020_signed.pdf
    It is from the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, signed by its president, the Baroness Prof. em. Haleh Afshar, peer of the House of Lords.
    The letter does not leave any explicitness to be desired: The HRK recommendation of applying the IHRA definition of antisemitism is “incompatible with the principles of academic freedom". Likewise, the HRK’s claim that the BDS movement is antisemitic will “impede the right of academics to speak about and research the BDS movement, for students to learn about, discuss, and debate the movement in a free and open manner, and for students and academics to engage in entirely legitimate political activity on and off university campuses”. Undoubtedly the resolution will “have a chilling effect on academic freedom” particularly because “85 percent of staff in universities and research institutes below the rank of full professor are working on fixed-term contracts”.

    Against that “chilling effect” we warmly recommend this letter as an example for imitation.

    Cordially, for the initiators,
    Rolf Verleger

  • PETITION IN ZEICHNUNG - ON THE IHRA DEFINITION OF ANTI-SEMITISM
     

    at 17 Dec 2019 12:55

     

    Dear supporters of the petition,

    Here I would like to provide some background material on the IHRA "definition".

    There is not much to object to the definition per se, except that it is imprecise and too broad.

    Pragmatically, that was fine when it was introduced.
    Indeed, its lack of precision and broad range was fully intended by its creator, Kenneth Stern. Its purpose was to be a "working definition": Stern wanted to give the police in the EU a framework about which misdemeanors and crimes might be anti-Semitic.
    Kenneth Stern registers with shock and protest that this broad definition and especially its examples of application to Israel are now being used worldwide to restrict freedom of speech about Israel's policies, see recently [1] or more detailed [2].

    As a definition, the IHRA working definition is, as already mentioned, imprecise and vague. (See the detailed criticism in Peter Ulrich's expertise [English version: 3] as well as the shorter criticisms of my co-initiators Georg Meggle and Norman Paech [4,5]). Its significance lies in the fact that, through a number of apparently arbitrarily arranged examples, it also places opposition to Israel's policies, partisanship for the Palestinians, and even an attitude based on peace and reconciliation of the conflict under the general suspicion of anti-Semitism (even towards Jewish people [6,7,8]) and thus has already justified prohibitions of speech in the eyes of its supporters ([6,7,8,9]). Actually, anti-Semitism may be defined precisely and comprehensively [here by Georg Meggle: 10], even though differentiated considerations are always appropriate for evaluating its actual presence instead of the quick shots widespread today [11].

    In general, the climate created by politics through the propagation of the IHRA definition endangers the freedoms of opinion and assembly guaranteed by the German Basic Law. (S. decisions by the Higher Administrative Court Lüneburg and the Administrative Court Cologne, [12,13]). Especially at universities this may develop into endangering the freedom of research and teaching and the free discourse.

    This well-intentioned resolution of the HRK shows in deplorable clarity: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Anti-Semitism cannot be combated by banning free speech about obvious injustice - the human rights violations committed by Israel's policies.
    This has nothing at all to do with combating the Halle assassin’s sympathizers. Compare the furor with which the non-violent Palestinian resistance movement BDS (Boycott, Divestments, Sanctions against Israel) is fought in Germany on all levels and especially by "anti-Semitism commissioners" with the deafening silence on the Halle assassin’s ideological influencers. He justified his violent action against Jews with the fact that "the Jews" under the leadership of George Soros want to disintegrate the Occident with Muslim immigration and women's emancipation. This line of argument against Soros comes from Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban and has already been used by Donald Trump. I happened to be in Budapest in July 2017 and, to my horror, saw the underground stations paved with posters commissioned by Orban showing a grinning George Soros, subtitled "Don't let him be the last to laugh" in Hungarian. The Halle assassin stuck by this ...

    Best regards
    Rolf Publisher

    References:
    [1] www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/13/antisemitism-executive-order-trump-chilling-effect?CMP=share_btn_fb
    [2] docs.house.gov/meetings/JU/JU00/20171107/106610/HHRG-115-JU00-Wstate-SternK-20171107.pdf
    [3https://www.rosalux.de/fileadmin/rls_uploads/pdfs/rls_papers/Papers_3-2019_Antisemitism.pdf
    [4] www.heise.de/tp/features/Grundrecht-auf-freie-Meinungsaeusserung-und-Rede-ist-bedroht-4602337.html
    [5] www.heise.de/tp/features/Sprachregelung-fuer-unsere-Unis-Einspruch-4598877.html
    [6] www.heise.de/tp/features/Beschluss-der-HRK-zur-IHRA-Definition-von-Antisemitismus-4602268.html
    [7] www.jrbernstein.de/blog-1/2019/10/20/meinungsfreiheit-oder-zensur
    [8] bibjetzt.wordpress.com/2019/09/28/bip-aktuell-87-muenchner-gesinnungsschnueffelei/
    [9] www.rolf-verleger.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Brief-an-Flugblattverfasser.pdf
    [10] www.heise.de/tp/features/Genau-wann-bin-ich-Antisemit-4547202.html
    [11] www.jmberlin.de/sites/default/files/antisemitism-in-europe-today_2-klug.pdf
    [12] www.lebenshaus-alb.de/magazin/012513.html
    [13] www.rechtsprechung.niedersachsen.de/jportal/portal/page/bsndprod.psml?doc.id=MWRE190001146&st=null&showdoccase=1

  • PETITION IN ZEICHNUNG - INTERIM APPRAISAL
     

    at 17 Dec 2019 10:41

     

    Deutsche Version folgt in zweitem Schreiben.
    ***
    Dear supporters,

    Our petition has been on-line for nine days. Now it is time for some interim appraisal.

    We have been asked several times what exactly may be objected against the IHRA “definition" of antisemitism. I will comment on this in a second letter.

    Well, here is an interim appraisal:

    Today, Dec 17, 9:30h a.m. MET, we are 845 supporters of the petition: 764 at the German version and 81 at the English one.

    Originally we had planned to restrict the circle of supporters to academics at German universities, being the immediately affected persons. But we dismissed this restriction, after so many people had signed who are either not academics or have not been active at German universities.
    Therefore, we thank all of you for your solidarity and would like to encourage you in bringing this petition to the attention of as many people as possible.

    Before Georg Meggle and I had started this petition, Georg had written to the president of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK). In the near future, we will further write to the rectors of all 268 universities and academies that are HRK members, in order to suggest that they may revise their resolution on the IHRA “definition”. When doing so, we will inform them about this petition, of course.

    It was particularly encouraging when, three days ago, Amos Goldberg from Jerusalem sent our call to his list of addressees. Prof. Goldberg is the initiator of the letter to the German parliament (Bundestag) from 240 Jewish academics opposing against the anti-BDS resolution in May (and, recently, of a similar letter to the French assemblée nationale). It is mainly through his help that we have a nice number of Jewish/Israeli academics as supporters, thereby providing us with a strong argument justifying our request.

    It is in this vein that I will do a little bit of name dropping about who signed so far (asking all those that remain unmentioned for their mercy):

    Professors (mostly) of Jewish descent, international:
    USA: Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Lawrence Davidson, Daniel Boyarin, Susan Slyomovics, Elsa Auerbach, Lisa Rofel, Joel Beinin, Colin Dayan, Rush Rehm, Andrew S. Bergerson
    Israel: Amos Goldberg, Gadi Algazi, Yonathan Anson, Micah Leshem, Ofer Aharony, David Enoch, Nomi Erteshik-Shir, Avner Ben-Amos, Tommy Dreyfus
    Belgium: Henri Hurwitz, Marc David, Willie van Peer, Victor Ginsburgh
    France: James Cohen, Marc Steinling, Pascal Lederer, Jeanne Lichtenstein Fagnani, Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun
    Great Britain: Donald Sassoon, Yosefa Loshitzky, Yossef Rapoport, Engin Isin
    Others: Igor Primoratz (IL, AUS), Larry Haiven (CAN), Yakov Rabkin (CAN), Roy Wagner (CH), Michel Legrand (LUX)

    We have plenty of other powerful personalities among these international supporters, like the psychiatrist Georges Yoram Federmann (fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Yoram_Federmann), the saxophonist Lena Bloch, the author Danièle Gervais-Marx

    Professors in Germany on the list of signatories (insofar the title of professor either was indicated or is known to me; to my knowledge, five of us are of Jewish):
    Philosophy: Georg Meggle, Pirmin Stekeler-Weithofer, Helmut Pape, Olivier Ndjimbi-Tshiende, Lothar Kreiser, Christoph Lumer
    Law: Norman Paech, Kai Ambos, Jörg Arnold
    Theology: Ulrich Duchrow, Dorothee Roer, Ulrich Hübner, Gottfried Orth, Johannes Wallmann
    Mathematics: Hans Bandelt, Günter Törner
    German studies: Eberhard Ockel
    Political science: Srirupa Roy, Helga Baumgarten, Karin Kulow, Michael Klundt, Werner Ruf, Bodo Zeuner
    Music: Sidney Corbett
    Photography: Heiner Schmitz
    Pedagogics: Micha Brumlik, Eva Borst, Iman Attia, Peter Rödler, Wolfgang Jantzen
    Communication: Michael Meyen
    History: Paul Münch
    Medicine: Michael Kochen, Jan Hildebrandt, Otwin Linderkamp, Michael Falkenstein, Wulf Dietrich
    Physics: Franz Fujara, Georg Bastian, Christian Jooß
    Oriental studies: Udo Steinbach, Martin Beck (DK), Irene Schneider, Rupa Viswanath
    Informatics: Fanny-Michaela Reisin, Eberhard von Goldammer
    Sociology: Eva Senghaas-Knobloch, Richard Sorg
    Economy: Jürgen Kunze
    Agriculture: Hans Haußmann
    Psychology: Rolf Verleger, Wilhelm Kempf, Birgit Kröner-Herwig, Werner Sommer, Günter Knoblich (Ö), Peter Kirsch, Andrea Kiesel, Wolfgang Kallus (Ö), Markus Kiefer, Hartmut Schächinger, Markus Junghöfer, Stefan Debener, Hans Markowitsch, Nele Wild-Wall

    Whoever is missing on this list or feels being misclassified: please write me.

    On behalf of Georg Meggle, I thank all of you for your support. Please help us in making the number of signatories increase further.

    Rolf Verleger

  • ÄNDERUNGEN AN DER PETITION
     

    at 14 Dec 2019 22:56

     

    As a matter of course, we do not mind the first and third paragraphs of the resolution. On the contrary, we have already quoted these paragraphs positively in the text. This is better captured by this changed phrasing.


    Neuer Petitionstext: Every form of discrimination is reprehensible: this is also true of anti-Semitism, that is, discrimination against Jews. This is also the assumption behind the resolution "No place for anti-Semitism" (1) adopted by the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) of 19 November 2019.
    This is precisely why we object to two of the rest four paragraphs of this resolution. It demands There, the adoption of the "IHRA definition" of anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism is demanded, a definition propagated for clearly political purposes and which is highly controversial. Approved by the German Bundestag and Federal Government, this definition should now be "established in all places of higher learning", in other words, this definition should now become the compulsory basis for our speech, thought and research in all such institutions.
    Our objection to this HRK resolution is based on two grounds, one being more formal in nature while the other is a question of substance. To begin with, we contest the HRK's assumption that it can impose any sort of binding rules of speech upon institutions of higher education and further we protest against any concrete restrictions (e.g. bans on public demonstrations) associated with this "IHRA definition" which are already being applied to hinder public reflection upon Israel's policy of occupation, a policy which has been in place now for more than 50 years. This reflection being restricted is one which is oriented toward international law and universal human rights.
    In both of these respects we see our fundamental freedoms of speech, teaching and research threatened. And that this threat emanates from the HRK, which calls itself "the voice of the universities" and which, quite rightly regards universities as the "centers of democratic culture, locus of dialogue and places of diversity" is particularly troubling. We see in this decision a blatant contradiction, one which has evidently escaped the attention of the last HRK General Assembly.
    We therefore appeal to the President of the HRK and to all members of the HRK - i.e. to all rectors of the 268 institutions of higher education in Germany - to revise this resolution so as not to include any parts which go beyond the general condemnation of anti-Semitism and further not to allow the kinds of restrictions of speech prescribed above, restrictions which moreover are clearly inadequate as regulative and compulsory norms for the use of language at our universities.
    We would therefore like to ask all those who are directly affected by this HRK resolution - our academic colleagues from all disciplines at German institutions of higher education - to support us in this effort. Support our OBJECTION with your signature to this petition addressed to the HRK leadership!
    In the "Comment" field ("Why is the petition important to you?"), please enter your subject area and your (former) university.
    (1) www.hrk.de/positionen/gesamtliste-beschluesse/beschluss/detail/kein-platz-fuer-antisemitismus/

    Unterschriften zum Zeitpunkt der Änderung: 708

  • ÄNDERUNGEN AN DER PETITION
     

    at 14 Dec 2019 22:36

     

    Incorrect arithmetics!! (2019-1967 = 52 years of occupation, which is "more than 50" but not "more than 60"


    Neuer Petitionstext: Every form of discrimination is reprehensible: this is also true of anti-Semitism, that is, discrimination against Jews. This is also the assumption behind the resolution "No place for anti-Semitism" (1) adopted by the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) of 19 November 2019.
    This is precisely why we object to the rest of this resolution. It demands the adoption of the "IHRA definition" of anti-Semitism, a definition propagated for clearly political purposes and which is highly controversial. Approved by the German Bundestag and Federal Government, this definition should now be "established in all places of higher learning", in other words, this definition should now become the compulsory basis for our speech, thought and research in all such institutions.
    Our objection to this HRK resolution is based on two grounds, one being more formal in nature while the other is a question of substance. To begin with, we contest the HRK's assumption that it can impose any sort of binding rules of speech upon institutions of higher education and further we protest against any concrete restrictions (e.g. bans on public demonstrations) associated with this "IHRA definition" which are already being applied to hinder public reflection upon Israel's policy of occupation, a policy which has been in place now for more than 60 50 years. This reflection being restricted is one which is oriented toward international law and universal human rights.
    In both of these respects we see our fundamental freedoms of speech, teaching and research threatened. And that this threat emanates from the HRK, which calls itself "the voice of the universities" and which, quite rightly regards universities as the "centers of democratic culture, locus of dialogue and places of diversity" is particularly troubling. We see in this decision a blatant contradiction, one which has evidently escaped the attention of the last HRK General Assembly.
    We therefore appeal to the President of the HRK and to all members of the HRK - i.e. to all rectors of the 268 institutions of higher education in Germany - to revise this resolution so as not to include any parts which go beyond the general condemnation of anti-Semitism and further not to allow the kinds of restrictions of speech prescribed above, restrictions which moreover are clearly inadequate as regulative and compulsory norms for the use of language at our universities.
    We would therefore like to ask all those who are directly affected by this HRK resolution - our academic colleagues from all disciplines at German institutions of higher education - to support us in this effort. Support our OBJECTION with your signature to this petition addressed to the HRK leadership!
    In the "Comment" field ("Why is the petition important to you?"), please enter your subject area and your (former) university.
    (1) www.hrk.de/positionen/gesamtliste-beschluesse/beschluss/detail/kein-platz-fuer-antisemitismus/

    Unterschriften zum Zeitpunkt der Änderung: 705

  • ÄNDERUNGEN AN DER PETITION
     

    at 13 Dec 2019 11:00

     

    Hatte die Links am Ende vergessen (die in der deutschen Version drin sind)


    Neue Begründung: Do our fundamental freedoms of freedom of speech, freedom of opinion and freedom of research and teaching also apply to our universities?
    Whoever agrees with this statement needs no further justification in order to support the request outlined above. We ourselves have already explained our own motivation for this action in publicly published objections directed toward the HRK, giving both personal and more general arguments. The restrictions we mentioned concerning public reflection on the Israel/Palestine conflict which center on international law and human rights are not only a source of fear for the future but are already in our time a matter of increasingly prevalent practice, one which now could claim legitimacy through this HRK resolution.
    See letters to the German Rectors' Conference chair by the initiators of this petition:
    Georg Meggle
    www.heise.de/tp/features/Sprachregelung-fuer-unsere-Unis-Einspruch-4598877.html
    Norman Paech
    www.heise.de/tp/features/Grundrecht-auf-freie-Meinungsaeusserung-und-Rede-ist-bedroht-4602337.html
    Rolf Verleger
    www.heise.de/tp/features/Beschluss-der-HRK-zur-IHRA-Definition-von-Antisemitismus-4602268.html

    Unterschriften zum Zeitpunkt der Änderung: 589

  •  




=====================================================




 
E-mail: administrator@brismes.org Website: www.brismes.ac.uk
BRISMES Administrative Office, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL

Page 1 of 3
Prof Dr Peter-André Alt,
President of the German Rectors’ Conference/Hochschulrektorenkonferenz
Leipziger Platz 11
10117 Berlin
Germany
26 February 2020

Dear Prof Dr Peter-André Alt,
I write on behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) to express our deep concern regarding the German Rectors’ Conference resolution entitled ‘No place for antisemitism,’ which was adopted on 19 November 2019.1 Founded in 1973, BRISMES is the largest academic association in Europe focused on the study of the Middle East and North Africa. BRISMES has a Committee on Academic Freedom, with a specific mandate to monitor and defend academic freedom in the research, study and teaching of Middle East Studies in the UK and anywhere in the world, including in academic institutions in the Middle East and North Africa.
We agree wholeheartedly with the resolution’s description of universities as centres of democratic culture and places of diversity, and that universities have a responsibility to staunchly counter xenophobia and to take decisive action to help create tolerant societies. BRISMES condemns antisemitism and all forms of racism without reservation, and once again publicly reiterates our support for universities’ efforts to eliminate racism from our campuses.
We are nevertheless deeply concerned by the implications that elements of this resolution have for fundamental freedoms of speech, teaching, and research on which academics rely. The resolution proposes that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism be “established in all places of higher learning,” and is attempting to impose a deeply contested and controversial definition of antisemitism, which has become highly politicised. Kenneth Stern, the lead drafter of the working definition of antisemitism, and the Director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, has made clear that the definition was “never intended to be a campus hate speech code.” The definition, he explained, was “created primarily so that European data collectors could know what to include and

Page 2 of 3

exclude,” but political groups have “weaponized” the definition in ways that threaten freedom of speech.2 Legal experts have highlighted the dangers of this definition, with eminent barristers Hugh Tomlinson labelling it ‘unclear’ and ‘confusing,’3 and Geoffrey Robertson arguing that the definition is ‘imprecise, confusing and open to misinterpretation and even manipulation.’ Furthermore, Robertson continued, ‘it is likely in practice to [both] chill free speech’ generally and ‘legitimate criticism’ of Israel in particular.4 Regarding academia specifically, the main academics’ union in the United Kingdom (the University and College Union) has noted cases where the IHRA definition has been used to ‘intimidate academics who are engaged in activities that are critical of the policies of the Israeli government but that are not antisemitic.’ 5 These are just a few examples of the strong and wide-ranging evidence that the IHRA definition is incompatible with the principles of academic freedom.
We also note, with deep concern, that the aforementioned resolution expresses its support for a further resolution entitled ‘Against BDS and all antisemitism,’ which described the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign as a “particularly aggressive expression of Israel-related antisemitism, for which there must be no space at German Universities.”6 As a learned society in the study of the Middle East, BRISMES adopted, at its 2015 Annual General Meeting, a motion reaffirming the right of BRISMES members to engage in an open and transparent discussion about BDS, in an atmosphere free from intimidation and censorship. We are therefore very concerned that it appears that this resolution will impede the right of academics to speak about and research the BDS movement, for students to learn about, discuss, and debate the movement in a free and open manner, and for students and academics to engage in entirely legitimate political activity on and off university campuses.
The German Rectors’ Conference resolution will undoubtedly have a chilling effect on academic freedom, and the discussion of Israeli policies and politics in particular. We note furthermore that in Germany approximately 85 percent of staff in universities and research institutes below the rank of full professor are working on fixed-term contracts,7 and that such staff are particularly liable to feel the effects of this decision, and to self-censor their speech, teaching and research on these themes. The German Rectors’ Conference has a responsibility to uphold and defend, not threaten and curtail, the academic freedom of staff and students.

Page 3 of 3

In support of (at the time of writing) over 1,300 petition signatories working in German universities and research institutes,8 we call upon you, as the President of the German Rectors’ Conference, and upon all members of the Conference, to revise this resolution to remove the clear threats to academic freedom that it contains.
Sincerely,
Professor the Baroness Afshar OBE
President, BRISMES
on behalf of BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom


Registered Charity Number 289804 VAT Registration Number 828 5681 90
President Vice-President Secretary Acting Treasurer Administrator
Baroness Afshar Dr Nicola Pratt Prof John Chalcraft Prof Tim Jacoby Ms Amy Brickhill


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https://www.facebook.com/academiaforequality/posts/we-wrote-to-the-president-of-the-german-rectors-conference-as-well-as-to-the-mem/2495270447395606/  

We wrote to the President of the German Rectors’ Conference as well as to the Members of the Executive Board and the General Assembly expressing our deep concern regarding their decision to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism.

In light of the increase in anti-Semitism as well as other forms of racism in Germany and beyond, we welcome and support all academic professionals and institutions initiatives to combat racism and bigotry. However, we maintain that the adoption of the IHRA definition neither serves the cause of combating anti-Semitism, nor does it protect its victims. We urge the German academic community to fight anti-Semitism while respecting legitimate support for Palestinian rights, without infringing the basic rights of free speech, expression and political association, while zealously protecting democratic spaces.

See the full letter below (please contact us for a PDF version)

🔸

Distinguished colleagues,

We are writing on behalf of Academia for Equality, a group of over 550 academics, based in Israel and in academic institutions all over the world, many of whom identify as Jewish and Israeli. Academia for Equality is a members’ organization committed to a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians and to social justice within Israel.

We are writing to express our great concern regarding the decision of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) of 19 November 2019 to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) “working definition of anti-Semitism” and particularly its examples(1) in the resolution entitled; “No place for anti-Semitism”.(2)

The rise in anti-Semitism as well as other forms of racism around the world, including in Germany, is a cause for grave concern. All forms of racism and bigotry are a threat that must be fought tirelessly, and we welcome the efforts by German academia in doing so. However, we maintain that the adoption of the IHRA definition including its examples neither serves the cause of combating anti-Semitism, nor does it protect its victims. Furthermore, it violates academic freedom and the freedom of speech, and dangerously mislabels and limits the possibilities of support for Palestinian rights.

As an organization committed to the values of human dignity, freedom, and equality of rights, we are committed inter alia to secure free expression and debate, and protect democratic academic spaces. We therefore alert that adopting the highly problematic(3) IHRA “working definition of antisemitism” by no means serves these values.

First, as Kenneth Stern, one of the drafters of the definition, who rejects any normative or political use of it makes clear in his important Guardian op-ed from December 13th, the definition that was drafted as a tool for researchers of anti-Semitism has become a tool for monitoring speech or activism, despite being completely unsuitable for this end.(4)

Secondly, the working definition and particularly the examples in it are unsuitable for use as part of a code. As it stands, it conflates support for Palestinian rights with anti-Zionism, and it conflates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. For example, its seemingly innocuous rejection of “double standards” can and is being used to force supporters of Palestinian rights to prove they are not anti-Semites against a vague and highly controversial charge. According to the examples and the way they are applied, if one criticizes Israel in a way allegedly involving a double standard, he or she is an anti-Semite. If one favors a binational or a democratic one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he or she is an anti-Semite. So is one, when he or she blames Israel for institutionalized racism or criticizes the lack of separation of religion and state in Israel, which leads to severe discrimination of women and people of LGBTQ communities, as well as non-Jewish communities in Israel. One can disagree with these opinions, but such opinions are legitimate and must be protected by freedom of speech in any other democratic political context. As a result, the definition creates an unjustified bias in favour of political-Zionist Israel and against the Palestinians. As we are witnessing time and again it has a chilling effect on any critical discussion of Israel-Palestine and it prevents any honest discussion regarding the solution of the conflict.

In addition to the inherent contradiction to the values of freedom of speech and academic freedom, and undermining the struggle to secure Palestinian human rights, by adopting the IHRA definition the German Rectors’ Conference is slighting a long history of Jewish opposition to Zionism and/or to Israeli policies. The conflation of hostility against Jews with legitimate criticism of Israeli policies and non-violent opposition to the occupation and the oppression of the Palestinian people leads to the oppression of civil society organizations and slanders individuals (including Jewish individuals) for their political beliefs. It further fails to respect German scholars and students who express their political views and concerns for human and civil-rights violations, some of whom are directly affected by the Israeli occupation. At the same time, it leads to labeling distinguished researchers, many of them Jews and even Holocaust survivors, as anti-Semites. Indeed as Professors Jan and Aleida Assmann recently warned in an open letter: a new form of McCarthy style witch-hunt sweeps through Germany and Europe: the accusation of anti-Semitism! Which denounces Europeans, and especially Germans who do not support the policies of Israel as an anti-Semites.(5)

More than anything, however, the decision to adopt the IHRA definition undermines the Palestinian struggle for freedom and equality. As academics well versed in the Israel-Palestine question, some of whom also research anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, we urge you to protect and support the free debate of the situation in Israel-Palestine.

In light of the increase in anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Germany and beyond against Jews and other minorities, we support the German academic professionals and institutions initiatives to combat anti-Semitism and all forms of racism. We urge you to do so while respecting legitimate support for Palestinian rights, without infringing the basic rights of free speech, expression and political association, while zealously protecting democratic spaces.

Sincerely,
The Board, Academia for Equality, Israel

(1) Working Definition of Antisemitism (2016), The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), http://www.holocaustremembrance.com/working-definition-anti…
(2) Kein Platz für Antisemitismus: Entschließung der HRK-Mitgliederversammlung vom 19.11.2019, Hochschulrektorenkonferenz, https://www.hrk.de/…/beschluss/detail/kein-platz-fuer-anti…/
(3) Peter Ullrich, Gutachten zur «Arbeitsdefinition Antisemitismus» der IHRA, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, October 2019, https://www.rosalux.de/…/gutachten-zur-arbeitsdefinition-a…/
(4) Kenneth Stern, “I drafted the definition of antisemitism. Rightwing Jews are weaponizing it”, The Guardian, 13 December 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/…/antisemitism-executive-order-…
(5) “Engagierter Freund Israels”, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 23 June 2019, https://www.sueddeutsche.de/…/juedisches-museum-berlin-enga…



===============================================================



Palestine advocate barred from Germany over anti-Semitism claims
 March 12, 2020

Palestinian-Canadian journalist Khaled Barakat has been barred from entering Germany for four years over concerns his Palestinian advocacy is anti-Semitic.

Barakat has been denied a renewal of his residency permit, though he has not been living in the country since August 2019.

In a 24-page statement, German police said Barakat “constitutes a security risk” because “his beliefs and continuous talking about liberating Palestine from the river to the sea… working on a strategy to liberate Palestine” and “insisting that ‘Israel’ has no right to exist” is anti-Semitic.

The German authorities have added that the decision was taken because Barakat’s rhetoric influences the beliefs of Arabs within the country and the rest of Europe.

The activist and his lawyer are expected to challenge the order in an appeal.

Barakat has previously faced prosecution over his support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS), which the German authorities have deemed is anti-Semitic.

The Palestinian advocate was also detained in June when he entered the country to participate in an Arab community event in Berlin on 22 June to discuss Palestinian liberation and its implications for other Arab communities.

Barakat was intending to speak on US President Trump’s “deal of the century” and the plan’s implications for Arab and Palestinian populations.

Barakat told the Electronic Intifada in July that he and his wife were “approached by a group of police and one officer spoke to me. He said: ‘You have an event here tonight and you are the speaker… you cannot speak.”

Six weeks after his detention, Barakat received a notice of deportation from Germany and was barred from engaging in political activities and events in Germany until 31 July, whether directly or over video.

The activist was reportedly told that violations of these restrictions were punishable by up to a year in prison.

Under German law, non-citizens can be barred from political activity if their words are considered harmful to the “security and stability” of the country.

In recent years, German music festivals have banned or cancelled international artists who refuse to denounce the BDS campaign.

While, the director of the Jewish Museum Berlin was forced to resign in June 2019 after the organisation tweeted an article about a petition opposing the German parliament’s condemnation of the BDS movement, signed by 240 Israeli and Jewish scholars.


=====================================================================


No place for anti-Semitism


Resolution of the HRK General Assembly on November 19, 2019


The HRK general assembly is horrified by the terrorist attack in Halle / Saale on October 9, 2019, the day of the Jewish reconciliation festival, and by the increasing number of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany (at least 1,799 in 2018 alone). It opposes all forms of anti-Semitism.

There is no place for anti-Semitism at German universities. The HRK General Assembly supports the resolution "Against BDS [1] and every anti-Semitism" of the Young Forum of the German-Israeli Society, the Jewish Student Union Germany, the free association of student bodies, the AStA of the Technical University Darmstadt and the AStA of Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt and party-related university groups such as the Juso university groups, the Liberal university groups, Campus Green and the ring of Christian Democratic students.

The German universities are centers of democratic culture, places of dialogue and places of diversity. [3] Already with the campaign "Universities open to the world against xenophobia", the universities have set an example and called for clear commitments and decisive action in favor of a tolerant and cosmopolitan society. [4] In addition, universities in Germany have a special historical responsibility to firmly oppose all forms of anti-Semitism.

The anti-Semitism definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) [5], which is also recognized by the German government [6], provides a clear basis for recognizing hatred of Jews and is therefore an important tool in combating it. Israeli anti-Semitism is also taken into account. The member universities of the University Rectors' Conference expressly welcome this anti-Semitism definition and would like to see it established at all university locations. It is used in its institutions and communicated to the members. Jewish life on campus must not be endangered; Jewish researchers, teachers and students must be able to feel safe at all universities. Research on anti-Semitism, its genesis and its mode of action,

-------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------


[1] BDS stands for "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions"; the Bundestag, by adopting proposal Ds. 19/10191 "Resolutely oppose the BDS movement - fight anti-Semitism", decided the BDS campaign and the call to boycott Israeli people Condemn goods or companies as well as Israeli scientists, artists or athletes (17.05.2019).
[2] This resolution supports the resolution "Against BDS and all anti-Semitism", the Young Forum of the German-Israeli Society, the Jewish Student Union Germany, the free association of student bodies, the AStA of the Technical University Darmstadt and the AStA of Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt as well as party-related university groups such as the Juso University Groups, the Liberal University Groups, Campus Grün and the Ring of Christian Democratic Students. See www.fzs.de/positionen/feminismus-antidisprechenierung/ Gegen-antisemitismus/
[3] Resolution of the Senate of the Rectors' Conference on October 13, 2016: Universities as key players in science and society. Key points on the role and challenges of the higher education system (as of 2018), p. 1f. As a partner of the European association Universities for Enlightment, the HRK has already explicitly committed itself to condemning anti-Semitism. Compare the statement of 13.12.2018 at www.u4e.eu/viennastatement
[4] Universities that are open to the world - Against xenophobia: Nationwide campaign by the HRK member universities , www.hrk.de/presse/pressemitteilungen/pressemitteilung/meldung/weltoffene-hochschulen- Gegen -themophobia-nationwide-action-of-the-hrk-member-universities / accessed 15.10.2019
[5]www.holocaustremembrance.com/de/node/196 accessed 20.09.2019
[6] www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/aussenpolitik/themen/kulturdialog/-/216610 retrieved 20.09.2019: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews that can express itself as hatred of Jews. Anti-Semitism is aimed, in word or deed, at Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and / or their property, as well as against Jewish community institutions or religious institutions. The state of Israel, which is understood as a Jewish collective, can also be the target of such attacks. ”


============================================


 
 
Professor the Baroness Haleh Afshar backs campaign to send North Yorkshire volunteers to Gaza with medical supplies
 
18th November 2009
 
Professor the Baroness Haleh Afshar, left, who launched the York to Gaza by ambulance appeal at St Michael le Belfrey Church, with Heather Stroud who is going to Gaza, and children from York Mosque who raised money for the appeal
Professor the Baroness Haleh Afshar, left, who launched the York to Gaza by ambulance appeal at St Michael le Belfrey Church, with Heather Stroud who is going to Gaza, and children from York Mosque who raised money for the appeal
 

A WELL-KNOWN York academic and member of the House of Lords has backed a campaign to send volunteers from North Yorkshire to Gaza with medical supplies.

Professor the Baroness Haleh Afshar, who teaches politics and women’s studies at the University of York, is supporting the appeal by the York branch of the Palestine Solidarity campaign, which campaigns for justice for the Palestinian people who live in Gaza.

The branch is urging people to donate money so it can buy medical supplies that will be going to Gaza in a decommissioned nine-year-old NHS ambulance.

The ambulance, with its team of volunteers from York, Scarborough, Norton and Gilling East, will be joining an international convoy organised by Viva Palestina taking supplies to people in Gaza, which is blockaded by Israel. The blockade means fewer imported supplies are allowed into Gaza.

The ambulance will set off in early December and it is hoped it will arrive in Gaza soon after Christmas. To support the appeal, phone Sue Cooke on 01904 795480, or 07799 034484.





 

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