Bullet-point Notes for presentation at the Civil Society Forum Workshop entitled: “Addressing Anti-Semitism against the Background of the Conflict in the Middle East” at the OSCE’S BERLIN CONFERENCE ON ANTI-SEMITISM AND CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM

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The Summer of 2014 – Operation Protective Edge in Germany

(Picture) Description of what we saw in the streets of Germany and elsewhere during the supper of 2014 / the protests in the streets of Frankfurt, Duisburg, Essen, Hannover, Munich and elsewhere, incl. the Al Kuds demonstration in Berlin

(Expanded picture version for the Internet)


  • The anti-Israel demonstration in Frankfurt on July 12th, 2014 as an example of similar demonstrations seen throughout Germany and elsewhere in similar, if not worse forms…
    Participants at the demonstrations

    • Various members from different immigrant groups, mostly Muslims – Turks, Arabs, Moroccans, Tunisians, etc.
      • Some so called extremists (Salafists), “burkas” and “bearded men”, but many, many modern looking, so called “moderate Muslims” P1010620 P1010697
      • 2nd, 3rd generation immigrants (import of problem / conflict onto the streets of Germany)
        P1010579 P1010516
        P1010572 P1010743P1010652 P1010633
        P1010606 P1010525
        P1010524 P1010749
      • All age groups – starting from very young children
        P1010651 P1010763
        P1010593 P1010596
      • Masked (or partially masked) youths
        P1010787 P1010786
        P1010740 P1010784
        P1010531 P1010781
    • “Gutmenschen” & “Peaceniks”
      P1010550 P1010565
      P1010576 P1010630
    • DIE LINKE (some DGB/trade unionists)
      P1010529 P1010588
      P1010589 P1010689
    • “Jews for a Just Peace in the Middle East” / Extreme left Israelis
    • Bystanders


  • Organizers:
    (Overall extremely well organized, materials & slogans shared nationwide, large numbers of „orderly“/staff to control crowd; generally extremely heated up / hostile and violent crowds)

    1. Turkish groups, Pro-Palestinian groups, Muslim communities, charities and mosques
    2. Supporters included:
      • DIE LINKE
      • Pax Christi
      • „Jews for Just Peace in the Middle East“
      • Peacecamp
      • BDS Movement


  • Slogan chanters:
    1. Young children (frequently girls) – very emotional & enciting a very hyped up atmosphere
    2. Youths and young adults
      • mostly very hate filled – anti-Israel but also anti-Semitic
      • some more intellectual type speeches particularly aimed at German participants, media and bystanders
    3. Preachers (mostly in Arabic)
      P1010767 P1010776


  • Posters / Repeated Slogans, incl. blatant anti-Semitism:
    • Holocaust / Hitler comparisons
    • DemonizationDelegitimization
    • Günter Grass
    • Jesus was a Palestinian
    • Questioning of special relationship between Germany and Israel
    • etc. (see Pictures)
    • P1010563 P1010659
      P1010660 P1010664
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      P1010677 P1010682
      P1010705 P1010708
      P1010716 P1010720
      P1010730 P1010737
      P1010745  P1010753
      P1010760 P1010766
      P1010791 P1010709
      P1010792 P1010755 
      P1010752 P1010702Similar, if not the same messages could be seen at the Al-Kuds Demo in Berlin, Bremen, Düsseldorf, München, Kassel, Duisburg, Wien and other demos – sometimes with displays of extreme violence – always inciting not only against Israel, but against Jews in general:
      P1010954 P1010961
      P1010958 1429348264-kassel-2000-gingen-palaestina-strasse-hO34
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      10556483_527507707348982_2129128571440201964_n 10603524_692717900807614_9005205880169101948_n
      Bremen Düsseldorf
      München Wien

      France was, of course, even worse…
      10530828_512504712184719_3329310961843278649_n Paris

  • Imagery:
    • Palestine = All of Israel
      P1010715 P1010746
      P1010766 P1010788
    • Shocking victim pictures from Syria & elsewhere
      P1010716 P1010711 P1010567 P1010652
    • Erdogan the hero
      P1010637 P1010793
      P1010636 P1010762


  • Flags:
    • Hamas
    • Hezbollah
    • ISIS
    • Flags of Turkey, Palestine, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and other Arab countries
      P1010560 P1010591 P1010614 P1010668
      P1010706 P1010708
      P1010721 P1010742


  • Making oneself a victim:
    • Claiming Islamophobia and downplaying anti-Semitism
    • Trying to unite all Muslims against Israel and creating unity among muslims by claiming that the West is supposedly united against Islam
      P1010626 P1010533


  • The role of the police / insufficient legal means to react:
    • Use of police cars, loudspeakers, megaphones
      P1010802 P1010811
    • No reaction to Arab speeches & slogans (e.g. “Kaybar Al Jahud“), posters & more
      –> insufficiently prepared with translators & too many slogans not considered “illegal”.
    • No reaction to terrorist flags
      –> insufficient legal means to react to such flags & slogans

      • … while removing & even confiscating Israeli flags because these are considered as “incitement”
    • Fencing in the pro-Israel groups “for their protection”, while not reacting to Pro-Palestinian demonstrator excesses for fear of violence
      P1010945 P1010948
    • –>On a positive note: some criminal complaints by police filed in retrospect, incl. complaints filed by policemen


Important to realize:

  • –> New tactic: Anti-anti-Semitism AND anti-Zionism, e.g. at Al Kuds day in Berlin
  • –> The anti-Semitic displays from 2014 are anything but new. They are a repeats of images seen at previous demonstrations, e.g. in 2009 & 2010!!!
    • 2009:
      CIMG0043 CIMG0018
      CIMG0059 CIMG0081
      CIMG0103 CIMG0104
      CIMG0110 CIMG0112
      CIMG0123  CIMG0136
      CIMG0173 CIMG0178
      CIMG0130 Thumb_Kindermoerder Israel Thumb_Stoppt Kindermord
    • 2010:
      RIMG1906 RIMG1909
      RIMG1923 RIMG1935
      RIMG1943 RIMG1948
      RIMG1969 RIMG1835 RIMG1839




Grassroots counter-rally protests & why it was so difficult to get groups of people to fight anti-Semitism visibly and in public / the role of civil society actors in reversing the wave of anti-Semitic discourse and action / approaches in combating anti-Israeli stereotypes


  • Berlin (organized by Central Council of Jews in Germany (Zentralat) and not some other (non-Jewish) political or civil society group or organization!!!)
    • “Stood up and now what…?!?!”
      –> Stood up and sat down again!
      P1020369 10666017_323744331120217_5323472137790803783_n P1020374
    • Only some 5.000 attendees, despite major campaign in advance, incl. media (especially BILD)

      • Tremendous lack of support from civil society!
    • Normally this event should have been organized by anyone BUT the Zentralrat!
    • Attendees included
      • false friends, incl. AFD
      • and open enemies: Anti-Anti-Semitism & Anti-Zionism, “Jews for a Just Peace”, etc.


  • Frankfurt (2 Protests – Opernplatz, then Römer):
    • Important new alliances:
      –> Kurds, Jews, City officials, Christians, friendship alliances, trying to incorporate moderate muslims
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      Mannhoefer_0623 Mannhoefer_0763
    • Speakers:
      –> big shot names for the media; representatives they can identify with for the crowd
    • Style–> Formal or more leisurely with Music


  • Approaches:
    • Pro-Israel, against anti-Semitism and Pro-Peace
      –> commemorating ALL victims, while clearly differentiating between aggressor and “Defender”
    • Facts, Images, simple to share material
    • Fast info sharing in reaction to news (video and photo sharing important)
    • Role of the new media – especially Facebook and Twitter


  • Aftermath:
    • Death threats and other verbal attacks after publicizing Frankfurt & other demos
    • Threats against at least two Bundestag members (MdB Connemann and Engelmeier)
    • Threats & vandalism directed against activists (e.g. 2 assaults on Elishewa Patterson, threats against Frankfurt Rabbi (that 20 members of the community would be murdered for every Palestinian family member hurt in conflict) and vandalism in the office of Tobias Huch)
    • Physical attacks against Jews (people with Jewish symbols (Magen David) beaten up in the streets)
    • No-go Areas, e.g. in Neukölln
    • Role of the new media – especially Facebook and Twitter
    • Chatrooms / Facebook / hate mails / insults
    • Death threats against School Speaker (Offenbach)
    • Stories shared with me by student group, with whom I held a workshop abaout anti-Semitism (19 out of 20 students had anti-Semitic, hate filled stories they shared with me about experiences they had in school and in their day-to-day lifes)


On a positive note:

  • In the aftermath to the summer of 2014, a journalist from the ZDF (second German public TV) invited me to take part in a filmed meeting with one of the activists, who participated in the Frankfurt protest, which I had documented in some detail. While this activist knew exactly who I was, I did not know that he was in fact one of the main „inciters“ during the protests and that I had in fact photographed him a number of times (photos I looked at only after the meeting). He, on the other hand, had even seen his photos on my Facebook page. From that perspective, the meeting was extremely interesting. For him, I was the pure devil, the guy who supposedly blindly defended each and every action of the IDF, the guy who was supposedly fighting against an independent Palestinian state, the guy who was supposedly considered every Palestinian to be a terrorist and the guy who supposedly claims that each and every criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic and so forth. Nonetheless, he was curious to meet me and when we moved beyond the stereotypical slogans, which he had heard in the Arab media and read about in the one sided forums he frequents, he had to realize, that there was far more to me than he had imagined and that there were in fact a lot of things that I was saying that he could agree with: that Hamas was abusing the Gaza population; that Hamas was using innocent children as human shields; that schools and mosques were being used as weapons storage places; that the IDF warned people prior to attacks on buildings; and so forth. Likewise, he had to realize, that I very much condemned civilian deaths and that I am very much able to be critical of Israeli political and military actions, the only (major) difference being that I was differentiating between the initiators of the violence and the people defending themselves. And while I learned that he was very much blended – if not brainwashed – by the hatred he had been exposed to, I learned that he was really nothing but a concerned individual, who condemns innocent bloodshed. And while the meeting was far too short to make major headways, we left the meeting giving each other a short hug, promising to meet again and to consider trying to make a headway towards peace on a 1 on 1 basis, hopefully bringing in more individuals in the future…
    P1010537 P1010517  P1010723



In addition to this photo documentation, please also see this video selection of Youtube clips from different German cities filmed throughout the summer of 2014:


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