Institut für Palästinakunde
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Göttinger Friedenspreis: Interview mit Dr. Shir Hever, Vorstandsmitglied der Berliner 'Jüdische Stimme' [22.03.2019]

Dr. Shir Hever REAL NEWS NETWORK: … The Gottingen Peace Prize in Germany is not something that normally makes headlines, even in Germany where the prize is awarded. This year, however, newspapers, radio stations, and television stations across Germany have covered it with intensity. Why? Because the prize was awarded to a group called Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East.
… Let’s first talk about Josef Schuster, who is from the Central Committee of the Jews of Germany, and accused everyone involved with the Jewish Voice for Peace of being anti-Semitic.

SHIR HEVER: … I just want to make one point about the way that Josef Schuster handled himself in this particular scandal, because what he did, he acted behind the scenes in order to put pressure on various organizations, to try to get them to boycott the Jewish Voice for a Just Peace. And he did that by basically making them choose between two options; either you choose a Jewish group which is supporting the rights of Jewish people and also Palestinian people, or you support a Jewish group that supports the State of Israel.

… But what Josef Schuster is saying, if you don’t want to be called an anti-Semite, you have to be loyal to a foreign state instead of supporting the Jews who live in Germany. And I think that’s a very serious problem.

SHIR HEVER: Well, unfortunately, within the German political discourse, there’s very little knowledge on what’s actually happening in Israel-Palestine.
… Germans are not even aware that Netanyahu made a statement that is illegal in Germany, … . He said that the genocide against Jews in the Holocaust was not the idea of Adolf Hitler, but actually came from a Palestinian. And that is nothing short of Holocaust denial. So in the German context, that would be illegal, but few people are even aware of it. It’s because the idea of anti-Semitism and the fight against anti-Semitism has become a part of German identity that is completely disconnected from what’s happening in Israel-Palestine.

And what I think, for me, is always very shocking in the German discourse is how easy it is for German institutions to accept, and even to promote, a reality in which Christians decide for Jews whether the Jews are anti-Semites or not. The mayor of Gottingen, who said, “I’m not going to allow the Jewish Voice for Peace to receive any prize in in any state-owned building,” then came to us and said, “Oh, you know that my father was in the SS, and that’s why I have to boycott you.” And I think that’s a very weird kind of logic, that he thinks that anti-Semitism belongs to him, the Holocaust is his thing, the Jewish victims are just incidental characters in that story.

SHIR HEVER: We were founded as an organization first in 2003, but officially registered in 2007, as an organization to support Palestinian rights, and to support equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians and a just peace. And we didn’t really think that most of our work is going to be about German society, and we were very wrong about that. Because there is now a situation in Germany in which speaking out for equal rights of people is considered an anti-Semitic act and the Holocaust has been manipulated and instrumentalized by right wing groups.


Ergänzende Links:
Interview mit unserem Vorstandsmitglied Shir Hever zum Göttinger Friedenspreis (js)

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