We – the German section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – view the burgeoning anti-Semitic violence and anti-Muslim racism in Germany, Austria and other countries in recent weeks with great concern and deeply condemn it.
Alleged “solidarity” that serves anti-Semitic or racist narratives, denies Israel’s right to exist or the right of Palestinians to self-determination, and incites violence against Jews and Muslims in Germany as well as Israelis and Palestinians is no real solidarity with the people of Palestine and Israel.
Under the guise of this supposed “solidarity” with the situation of Palestinians, anti-Semitic slogans were spread at demonstrations and rallies (e.g. Gelsenkirchen, Berlin). Amongst others, Israel’s right to exist was denied and delegitimized, there were Holocaust relativizations by drawing comparisons between Israel and the National Socialist regime and criticized campaigns such as the BDS campaign1 were advertised (e.g. Berlin, Vienna). There were also attacks on synagogues and other Jewish institutions and Israeli flags were burned (e.g. Bonn).
We expressly distance ourselves from individuals and groups who fuel this anti-Semitism and threaten Jews in Germany. They are currently exposed to both acute digital violence online and insecurity within public spaces.
It must be emphasized, however, that these are not sudden and new developments. Anti-Semitic attitudes can be found in all parts of our society and are not limited to any particular group within our population. We therefore starkly criticize the fact that in particular Muslims and migrants are being accused of anti-Semitism. This story of a supposedly “new and imported anti-Semitism” is racist and is used to politically mobilize and incite against Muslims, migrants and refugees in Germany. It ignores and relativizes all the spaces where anti-Semitism occurs – especially within right-wing extremist structures in our society. We stand against all anti-Semitism and racism and show solidarity with all people in Germany who are exposed to anti-Semitic and racist violence.
Additionally, our solidarity with Israel and Palestine goes to all those who are directly affected by violence and who are committed to de-escalating the current situation. We condemn any kind of violent conflict and advocate for dialogue and peace processes which includes the participation of all affected groups.
Feminist work as well as any form of politics aimed towards sustainable peace must be both anti-racist and highly critical of anti-Semitism. For this reason, we have initiated a process within our own German WILPF section to self-critically question our activist work in this regard. We are looking for the support of external experts from educational and advisory institutions.
1 The global BDS campaign (boycott, divestment, sanctions) is classified as anti-Semitic by the German government. The German section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom does not support the BDS campaign. This was officially confirmed by the members of the section at the last annual general meeting in January 2021.