ISRAEL ACADEMIA MONITOR

Academics’ Latest Trend: The Right to Call for BDS

 
21.07.2020
Editorial Note
 
A group of Jewish pro-Palestinian academics, among them Israelis, have recently targeted Dr. Felix Klein, the Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Anti-Semitism, since May 2018, urging him to resign.     Already in April, the group sent a letter asking the German Interior Minister to replace Klein.  They complained that Klein had described philosopher Achille Mbembe’s writings as anti-Semitic. To recall, IAM also found some of Mbembe’s writing to be antisemitic. In the current assault on Klein, the group accused Klein of stating: “it is precisely the anti-Semitism from the left-liberal milieu that has made life, also for me personally, quite a bit harder in the last few weeks. But even if right-wing narratives currently have a higher potential for violence, we must not underestimate this area.” The group members objected to his assertion that the Liberal Left is accused of anti-Semitism.  They found it offensive and wrote him: “You fail to distinguish between legitimate criticism and real anti-Semitism.” According to them, it is “the acute danger that Jews in Germany face due to the surge in far-right anti-Semitism,” and not the left.    However, a new report by the German Government Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) has found that the number of criminal acts motivated by left-wing extremism has jumped up nearly 40 percent between 2018 and 2019.  The BfV recorded 6,449 criminal acts motivated by left-wing extremism in 2019, up from 4,622 in 2018.  Just over 900 of these crimes were considered violent. Islamic terrorism also remains a significant threat, the report found. The danger to Jews comes from both the left and right. On the same day the letter was sent to Klein, an anonymous abusive post has targeted Klein, who reported this to the police.  The group found BDS to be a legitimate tool of criticism of Israel and, not surprisingly, attack those who work against BDS. They chastised Klein, “You have been a driving force behind attempts to undermine free speech by categorically defining and disqualifying the BDS Movement, which has a minuscule footprint in Germany, as antisemitic.” 
The group ended their letter with a plea, “We are calling on you to resign,” followed by the list of professors, including, but not limited to:
 
Prof. Gadi Algazi, Tel Aviv University; Dr. Seth Anziska, University College London; Prof. Louise Bethlehem, The Hebrew University; Prof. Daniel Boyarin, University of California, Berkeley; Dr. Raya Cohen, Tel Aviv University; Prof. Alon Confino, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Prof. (emerita) Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Prof. (emeritus) Gideon Freudenthal, Tel Aviv University; Prof. Amos Goldberg, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Prof. Neve Gordon, Queen Mary University of London; Prof. David Harel, The Weizmann Institute of Science; Prof. (emeritus) Yehuda Judd Ne’eman, Tel Aviv University; Dr. Anat Matar, Tel Aviv University; Prof. (emeritus) Paul Mendes-Flohr, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Prof. Isaac Nevo, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Prof. (emeritus) Adi Ophir, Tel Aviv University; Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Prof. (emerita) Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Prof. Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Tel Aviv University; Prof. Catherine Rottenberg, University of Nottingham; Prof. David Shulman, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Prof. (emeritus) Moshe Zuckermann, Tel Aviv University; among others.
 
Clearly, some of these scholars are leading BDS activists, others are well-known delegitimizers of Israel, and the rest are known radical-political activists.
 
Palestinian activists have avidly followed the campaign against Klein.  The original letter in German was published by the Palästinakomitee Stuttgart alone, and the letter in English was published only by the Electronic Intifada and Institut für Palästinakunde e.V., which raises a question of possible connection.
 
The German police are yet to discover who is behind the abusive post sent to Klein.  
 Supporting the right to call for BDS against Israel is illegitimate as BDS. Given that BDS is illegal in Israel, the presence of so many Israeli academics among the signatories is concerning.  The Israeli taxpayers pay their salaries.  



https://www.wzo.org.il/antisemitism/index.php?dir=site&page=articles&op=item&cs=4906  
German antisemitism Officer receives abusive post July 11, 2020   Germany Berlin – The Federal Government’s antiaemitism Commissioner Felix Klein has received a letter of agitation for the first time. Klein has been in office since May 2018. According to SPIEGEL information, the letter that he received on June 30 is like a threatening letter that unknown persons sent to the synagogue community in Halle an der Saale in May.The letter addressed to the antisemitism officer is likely to be directly related to Klein’s efforts against racism and antisemitism. “It is precisely the challenges of the corona pandemic that fuel many crude conspiracy myths, which Mr Klein has spoken about several times in the media,” his office said. After a “security-related assessment” of the letter, a criminal complaint was filed.Source: spiegel.  

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http://www.ipk-bonn.de/downloads/Letter_of_Jewish_scholars_to_Felix_Klein.pdf  

Mr. Felix KleinFederal government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany andthe Fight against AntisemitismMinistry of the Interior, Building and CommunityAlt-Moabit 14010557 BerlinGermanyCopied:Angela Merkel, Chancellor of GermanyHorst Seehofer, Federal Minister of the InteriorFranziska Giffey, Federal Minister for Family AffairsHeiko Maas, Federal Minister of Foreign AffairsConcerns: your statement regarding “antisemitism from the left-liberal milieu”10 July 2020Dear Mr. Klein,We are Jewish scholars and artists from Israel and elsewhere, many of whom specialize inanti-Semitism and in Jewish, Holocaust and Israel Studies. On April 30, wewrote to GermanInterior Minister Horst Seehofer and called for your replacement as the Federal governmentCommissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism. We did sofollowing your shameful attack on Prof. Achille Mbembe, one of the most importantintellectuals in Africa and globally.A statement has now been brought to our attention, which you made on June 30. In thepresence of Franziska Giffey, the German Minister for Family Affairs, you said: “We allknow, perhaps, ladies and gentlemen, that it is precisely the antisemitism from the left-liberalmilieu that has made life, also for me personally, quite a bit harder in the last few weeks. Buteven if right-wing narratives currently have a higher potential for violence, we must notunderestimate this area.”We strongly object. No “left-liberal anti-Semites” are bullying you, but Jews and non-Jewswho are protesting the way in which you are weaponizing the fight against antisemitism, atthe expense of free speech and basic civil rights – and the fight against antisemitism itself.Holding you accountable for statements and actions in your official capacity, Mr. Klein, is notantisemitism. It’s the essence of democracy.Your statement quoted above is deeply offensive. You basically called us and many otherscriticising you in a legitimate way anti-Semites. We demand an apology for that. It alsotestifies to your distorted understanding of the acute danger that Jews in Germany face due tothe surge in far-right antisemitism. Without hesitation, you compare “left-liberal” critiques toright-wing violence and insist that the former not be underestimated.While you do so, we observe a method you have been using before: stigmatizing andincriminating critics through undefined and unsubstantiated allegations. Instead of supportingyour charges with concrete and credible information relating to the intent and behaviour ofspecific individuals, you make do with generalizations such as “anti-Semitism from the left-liberal milieu”. Aside from us feeling implicated: who are you pointing at? On what grounds?Page 2We consider such a reliance on vague but highly toxic insinuations problematic anddetrimental in itself, but even more so when used and amplified by a senior official appointedby the German government to fight antisemitism.In a recentarticle in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Journalist and Jurist Stephan Detjenwrote: “Restrictions of freedom of opinion, when motivated by allegations of proximity toBDS, require a clear legal basis and are subject to an examination scheme developed by theFederal Constitutional Court.”You have been a driving force behind attempts to undermine free speech by categoricallydefining and disqualifying the BDS Movement, which has a minuscule footprint in Germany,as antisemitic. However, in itsjudgement on June 11, the European Court of Human Rightsconfirmed and clarified that activism in the context of BDS is protected by freedom ofexpression.As we have stressed before, our views about BDS differ. But all of us were hoping this rulingwould motivate you to shift your attention to the real dangers posed by antisemitism inGermany. As we were hoping the extensive criticism directed at you following your attack onProf. Mbembe would induce you to stop launching baseless and undefined accusations.However, your latest statement about “anti-Semitism from the left-liberal milieu” made clearour hope was unfounded.You display a lack of awareness and respect for democratic values. You fail to distinguishbetween legitimate criticism and real antisemitism. As the Israeli government is movingtowards formal annexation of parts of the West Bank and the need for loud internationalcriticism and opposition is only growing, you keep chilling the public and political debate inGermany and beyond.In his aforementioned article, Stephan Detjen emphasizes that the Federal governmentCommissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism carries “asharp sword” – for good reasons. Yet again, you have demonstrated you do not know how touse this sword.We are calling on you to resign.Prof. Gadi Algazi, Department of History, Tel Aviv University; Associate Fellow atRe:Work: International Research Center Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History atHumboldt University, BerlinDr. Seth Anziska, Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College LondonProf. Louise Bethlehem, Department of English and the Program in Cultural Studies, TheHebrew University of Jerusalem; recipient European Research Council Consolidators GrantProf. Daniel Boyarin, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, University of California,Berkeley; Fellow American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Von Humboldt Senior LaureateProf. (emerita) Jane Caplan, Professor of Modern European History, University of Oxford;Emeritus Fellow, St Antony’s College, OxfordPage 3Dr. Raya Cohen, formerly Department of Jewish History, Tel Aviv University; formerlyDepartment of Sociology, University of Naples Federico IIProf. Jean Comaroff, Alfred North Whitehead Professor of African and African AmericanStudies and of Anthropology; Oppenheimer Research Fellow in African Studies, HarvardUniversityProf. John Comaroff, Hugh K. Foster Professor of African and African American Studiesand of Anthropology; Oppenheimer Research Fellow in African Studies, Harvard UniversityProf. Alon Confino, Pen Tishkach Chair of Holocaust Studies, Departments of History andof Jewish and Near Eastern Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; recipient of theHumboldt-Stiftung and of the Guggenheim FellowshipsProf. (emerita) Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Department of General and Comparative Literature,The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; recipient of Guggenheim FellowshipProf. (emeritus) Gideon Freudenthal, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy ofScience and Ideas, Tel Aviv UniversityDr. Katharina Galor, Hirschfeld Visiting Associate Professor, Program in Judaic Studies,Brown UniversityProf. Amos Goldberg, Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, The HebrewUniversity of JerusalemProf. Neve Gordon, School of Law, Marie Curie Fellow, Queen Mary University of LondonDr. Ilana Hammerman, Writer, recipient of the Yeshayahu Leibowitz PrizeProf. David Harel, Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, TheWeizmann Institute of Science; recipient of the Israel Prize and of the EMET PrizeDani Karavan, Sculptor, projects include the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma victims ofNational Socialism in Berlin, the Regensburg Synagogue Memorial and the Way of HumanRights in Nuremberg; recipient of the Israel PrizeMiki Kratsman, Photographer; former head of the Photography Department at BezalelAcademy of Arts and Design; recipient of the EMET PrizeAlex Levac, Photographer, recipient of the Israel PrizeProf. (emeritus) Yehuda Judd Ne’eman, Tel Aviv University, recipient of the Israel PrizeDr. (emeritus) Mark Levene, Department of History, University of Southampton UK;Parkes Centre for Jewish/non-Jewish Relations; recipient of the Lemkin Prize of the Institutefor the Study of GenocideProf. Neil Levi, English Department (chair), Drew UniversityDr. Anat Matar, Department of Philosophy, Tel Aviv UniversityProf. (emeritus) Paul Mendes-Flohr, Dorothy Grant Maclear Professor Emeritus of ModernJewish History and Thought and Associate Faculty in the Department of History, TheUniversity of Chicago Divinity School; Professor Emeritus of Jewish Thought, The HebrewUniversity of JerusalemProf. Isaac Nevo, Department of Philosophy, Ben-Gurion University of the NegevPage 4Prof. (emeritus) Adi Ophir, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Scienceand Ideas, Tel Aviv University; Visiting Professor of the Humanities, The Cogut Institute forthe Humanities and the Center for Middle East Studies, Brown UniversityProf. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, School of Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; TheDavid Yellin Academic College of Education; co-recipient of the Sakharov PrizeProf. (emerita) Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, Departments of English Literature andComparative Literature, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; member of the Israel Academyof Sciences and HumanitiesProf. Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Head of the Talmud and Late Antiquity section, The Department ofJewish Philosophy and Talmud, Tel Aviv UniversityProf. Michael Rothberg, 1939 Society Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies,Department of Comparative Literature, University of CaliforniaProf. Catherine Rottenberg, Department of American and Canadian Studies, University ofNottinghamProf. David Shulman, Department of Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem,member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, recipient of the Israel Prize andof the EMET PrizeProf. Barry Trachtenberg, Michael R. and Deborah K. Rubin Presidential Chair of JewishHistory, Department of History, Wake Forest UniversityProf. (emeritus) Moshe Zuckermann, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy ofScience and Ideas, Tel Aviv University

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https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/german-anti-semitism-chief-must-resign-say-jewish-and-israeli-scholars    German anti-Semitism chief must resign, say Jewish and Israeli scholars Ali Abunimah Lobby Watch 13 July 2020
Almost three dozen prominent Jewish and Israeli scholars are calling for the resignation of Germany’s top official responsible for combating anti-Semitism.The latest demand for the removal of Felix Klein comes following his claim at an event on 30 June that “anti-Semitism from the left-liberal milieu” had been “making life a bit harder for me personally.”Klein went on to say that “even if right-wing narratives currently have a higher potential for violence, we must not underestimate this area.”The scholars reject this entirely: “No ‘left-liberal anti-Semites’ are bullying you, but Jews and non-Jews are protesting the way in which you are weaponizing the fight against anti-Semitism at the expense of free speech and basic civil rights – and the fight against anti-Semitism itself.”The signers include Dani Karavan, Alex Levac, Yehuda Judd Ne’eman and David Shulman – all winners of the Israel Prize, the state’s highest official cultural honor.They also include Harvard University’s Jean Comaroff, writer and Yeshayahu Leibowitz Prize winner Ilana Hammerman, and Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.Among the signers are Mark Levene, retired professor at the University of Southampton and winner of the Lemkin Prize of the Institute for the Study of Genocide; Michael Rothberg, chair in Holocaust studies at the University of California; and Barry Trachtenberg, chair of Jewish history at Wake Forest University.The scholars call Klein’s latest declaration “deeply offensive.”“You basically called us and many others criticizing you in a legitimate way anti-Semites,” they write. “We demand an apology for that.”They also accuse Klein of minimizing the “acute danger that Jews in Germany face due to the surge in far-right anti-Semitism.”Smears against Achille MbembeKlein already faced calls for his sacking earlier this year following what the scholars term his “shameful attack on Professor Achille Mbembe, one of the most important intellectuals in Africa and globally.”In response to Klein’s smear campaign against Mbembe, hundreds of scholars pledged not to cooperate with institutions in Germany that censor advocates of Palestinian rights.Many of the scholars now urging Klein to resign wrote to Germany’s interior minister Horst Seehofer following the Mbembe episode, urging him to fire Klein.Despite the backlash, Klein refused to apologize for his false accusations of anti-Semitism against Mbembe.Asked to justify those attacks, Klein made it crystal clear to the German newspaper Die Zeit in May that his motivation for smearing Mbembe was to shield Israel from accountability and criticism.Klein claimed that Mbembe’s essay “The Society of Enmity” contained “all the features of Israel-focused anti-Semitism.”According to Klein, this included that “Israel is demonized, a double standard is established, and the legitimacy of the country as a whole is called into question.”In fact, the essay contains detailed and factually accurate descriptions of the systems of control and segregation Israel imposes on Palestinians, including walls, checkpoints, fences and watchtowers.Klein also cited how Mbembe wrote the foreward to the 2015 book Apartheid Israel “in which he argued that Israel is worse than the apartheid regime of South Africa.”Klein also complained that proceeds from the book “went to a BDS group” – a reference to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.The volume, published by Haymarket Books, is a thought-provoking and carefully considered collection of essays by 18 scholars of Africa – who can hardly be accused of making light of the term apartheid.Comparisons of Israel’s system to the crime of apartheid as it was perpetrated in South Africa have been common for years – because they are accurate – and have been advanced not least by former Israeli prime ministers including Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak.In his own defense, in an interview published in April, Mbembe has gone as far as to declare that “It would never occur to me to contest Israel’s right to exist” and to insist that “I have no relationship whatsoever with BDS.”Klein, therefore, not only seeks to silence those who oppose Israel’s claimed “right to exist” as a racist Jewish state, but even those – like Mbembe – who don’t.But facts are not important to pro-Israel zealots like Klein who are determined to smear any and all criticism of Israel as akin to anti-Jewish bigotry.“For me, the matter is unfortunately clear-cut,” Klein asserted regarding Mbembe’s work. “And I am surprised that there are readers of this composition who apparently ignore that.”“Driving force”Indeed the matter is clear-cut, but not in the way Klein thinks: What is evident is that all the examples of alleged anti-Semitism he produced against Mbembe amount to criticism of Israel’s brutal system of military occupation, settler-colonialism and violent ethno-religious segregation.The signers of the letter calling on him to resign call Klein a “driving force behind attempts to undermine free speech by categorically disqualifying the BDS movement, which has a minuscule footprint in Germany, as anti-Semitic.”They note that this logic was rejected in a landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights last month, which confirmed that Israel boycott activism is protected political free speech.“You display a lack of awareness and respect for democratic values,” the scholars charge Klein. “You fail to distinguish between legitimate criticism and real anti-Semitism.”As Israel moves towards annexing large parts of the occupied West Bank, the scholars say that “the need for loud international criticism and opposition is only growing,” but Klein keeps “chilling the public and political debate in Germany and beyond.” Klein is one of several high-profile anti-Semitism officials appointed by European governments and the US who have used their positions as a cover to advance Israel’s campaign to muzzle supporters of Palestinian rights.Prominent among them is Katharina von Schnurbein, a German functionary who leads the European Union’s effort to spread smears and lies against the BDS movement.==========================================================http://www.ipk-bonn.de/downloads/Call-on-German-Minister-Seehofer.pdf

Mr. Horst Seehofer

Minister of the Interior, Building and CommunityAlt-Moabit 14010557 BerlinGermanyCopied:Angela Merkel, Chancellor of GermanyHeiko Maas, Minister of Foreign AffairsConcerns: Call to replace Felix Klein as the Federal government Commissioner for theFight against Antisemitism30 April 2020Dear Minister Seehofer,We, Jewish scholars and artists from Israel and elsewhere, many of whom specialize in anti-Semitism and in Jewish, Holocaust and Israel Studies, are calling on you to replace Felix Klein,the Federal government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight againstAntisemitism, following his shameful attack on Prof. Achille Mbembe.As you know, Prof. Achille Mbembe is one of the most important intellectuals in Africa, whosehumanistic voice and scholarship is heard and admired globally. We consider Mr. Klein’s attemptto frame Prof. Mbembe as an antisemite baseless, inappropriate, offensive and harmful.We are aware that the attack on Prof. Mbembe was initiated by others, who rejected him as theopening speaker of this year’s Ruhrtriennale Festival. Given his official role and responsibility, wefind it unacceptable that Mr. Klein joined this attack, which degraded into a witch-hunt.We are perplexed that Mr. Klein did so without bothering to study Prof. Mbembe’s work. Instead,he relied for his allegations on a deeply selective reading and manipulative interpretation of Prof.Mbembe’s writings by others. Considering that accusations of antisemitism can ruin someone’sreputation, this in itself amounts to severe professional and moral misconduct.The Ruhrtriennale Festival has been cancelled by now, due to the coronavirus. This incident,however, cannot remain without consequences for Mr. Klein. Apart from the personal andprofessional harm done to Prof. Mbembe, Mr. Klein has done a disservice to the urgent fightagainst real antisemitism, casting a shadow over the integrity of his public office.By accusing Prof. Mbembe of “relativizing the Holocaust”, Mr. Klein has also harmed academicfreedom. This toxic allegation relates to Prof. Mbembe’s study in reference to the Holocaust incomparative context. We wish to be very clear: such study isn’t a trivialization of the Holocaustand certainly not antisemitism. It is legitimate, essential and in fact commonplace in Holocaust andgenocide studies. Some 600 leading Holocaust scholars recently asserted that banning analogiesfrom the debate about the Holocaust is “a radical position that is far removed from mainstreamscholarship on the Holocaust and genocide. And it makes learning from the past almostimpossible”.Mr. Klein’s attack on Prof. Mbembe fits into a pattern. He has assumed a leading role in the“weaponization” of antisemitism against critics of the Israeli government and activists exercisingtheir freedom of speech and assembly to protest Israel’s violations of basic rights of thePalestinians. As an official representative of the German government, Mr. Klein is underminingPage 2the exercise of fundamental freedoms – this should deeply alarm your government, considering itscommitment to democratic principles and the rule of law.Unjustified allegations of antisemitism are increasingly creating a climate of fear in Germany,deterring intellectuals, journalists and the public at large from exercising free speech regardingcontroversial issues that should be publicly debated. At this very hour, free and critical speech inrelation to Israel is needed more than ever. While the world is desperately fighting the coronavirus,the incoming Israeli government is moving towards annexation of vital parts of the occupiedPalestinian West Bank – a grave violation of international law, formalizing a situation of twopeoples with unequal rights inside one territory.56 former members of the Knesset, some of whom have served as ministers in various Israeligovernments, have recently warned this would establish an Apartheid state in Israel-Palestine.Does Mr. Klein consider them antisemites? And all others who will speak of inequality anddiscrimination, after annexation has been implemented? These questions arise after Mr. Klein hasaccused Prof. Mbembe of antisemitism for allegedly equating Israel with Apartheid South Africa.In addition, Mr. Klein has promoted and amplified aggressive campaigns against organizations andindividuals, some of them Jewish, due to their support for “BDS”. He is clearly obsessed by theBDS campaign, which has a miniscule footprint in Germany, and appears to devote more of histime to it than to the acute threat that the surge in far-right antisemitism poses to Jews and Jewishlife in Germany.Our views on BDS differ, but it is entirely clear: BDS as such is not antisemitic and is essentiallyprotected by freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, as also confirmed by several Germancourts. It is deplorable but unsurprising that the Israeli government is waging war against BDS –but how can a German government official join this war in the frontline?In this context, we wish to add that this anti-BDS crusade is undeniably contributing to themarginalization of non-white voices and minorities in Germany, fostering racism and nationalisticsentiments. It is a shame that none other than the Federal Commissioner for the Fight againstAntisemitism is leading this trend.We also deplore that Mr. Klein has been encouraging politicized abuse of the IHRA definition,which conflates antisemitism with criticism and activism directed at Israel, to discredit and silenceopponents of Israel’s policies. Here again, we observe Mr. Klein operating in synergy with theIsraeli government.That same Israeli government is currently preparing for annexation of vital parts of Palestine. Ithas deliberately weaponized allegations of antisemitism to politically shield this dramatic step andto distract from the documented evidence about its systematic violations of the human rights of thePalestinians.On numerous occasions since his appointment in May 2018, Mr. Klein has facilitated andlegitimized this fatal instrumentalization, which – we wish to repeat – harms the fight against realanti-Semitism. The latest example is his attack on Prof. Mbembe.For all these reasons, we consider Mr. Klein unqualified and unfit for the important task assignedto him. He is a civil servant that operates and falls under your political responsibility. We call onyou to replace Mr. Klein without delay as the German government Commissioner for JewishLife and the Fight against Antisemitism.Page 3Yours sincerely,Prof. Gadi Algazi, Department of History, Tel Aviv University; Associate Fellow at Re:Work:International Research Center Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History at HumboldtUniversity, BerlinDr. Seth Anziska, Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College LondonProf. Louise Bethlehem, Department of English and the Program in Cultural Studies, TheHebrew University of Jerusalem; recipient European Research Council Consolidators GrantProf. Daniel Boyarin, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, University of California,Berkeley; Fellow American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Von Humboldt Senior LaureateProf. (emeritus) Jose Brunner, Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science andIdeas (former director) and Buchmann Faculty of Law; co-founder of Israel’s first legal clinic forthe rights of Holocaust survivors, Tel Aviv UniversityProf. (emerita) Jane Caplan, History Department, University of Oxford; Emeritus Fellow, St.Antony’s College, Oxford; Marjorie Walter Goodhart Professor Emeritus of European History,Bryn Mawr College; Visiting Professor, Birkbeck, University of LondonDr. Raya Cohen, formerly Department of Jewish History, Tel Aviv University; formerlyDepartment of Sociology, University of Naples Federico IIProf. Jean Comaroff, Alfred North Whitehead Professor of African and African AmericanStudies and of Anthropology; Oppenheimer Research Fellow in African Studies, HarvardUniversityProf. John Comaroff, Hugh K. Foster Professor of African and African American Studies and ofAnthropology; Oppenheimer Research Fellow in African Studies, Harvard UniversityProf. Alon Confino, Pen Tishkach Chair of Holocaust Studies, Director of The Institute forHolocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies, Department of History and of Jewish and Near EasternStudies, University of Massachusetts; recipient of the Humboldt-Stiftung and of the GuggenheimFellowshipsProf. (emerita) Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Department of General and Comparative Literature, TheHebrew University of Jerusalem; recipient of Guggenheim FellowshipProf. (emeritus) Gideon Freudenthal, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy ofScience and Ideas, Tel Aviv UniversityDr. Katharina Galor, Hirschfeld Visiting Associate Professor, Program in Judaic Studies, BrownUniversityProf. Amos Goldberg, Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, The HebrewUniversity of JerusalemProf. Neve Gordon, School of Law, Marie Curie Fellow, Queen Mary University of LondonDr. Ilana Hammerman, Writer, recipient of the Yeshayahu Leibowitz PrizeProf. David Harel, Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, The WeizmannInstitute of Science; recipient of the Israel Prize and of the EMET PrizeProf. Eva Illouz, The Department of Sociology and Anthropology, The Hebrew University ofJerusalem; The European Centre for Sociology and Political Science, Paris; recipient of theAnneliese Meier International Award for Excellence in Research from the Alexander vonHumboldt-Foundation and of the EMET PrizePage 4Dani Karavan, Sculptor, projects include the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma victims of NationalSocialism in Berlin, the Regensburg Synagogue Memorial and the Way of Human Rights inNuremberg; recipient of the Israel PrizeMiki Kratsman, Photographer; former head of the Photography Department at Bezalel Academyof Arts and Design; recipient of the EMET PrizeAlex Levac, Photographer, recipient of the Israel PrizeProf. (emeritus) Yehuda Judd Ne’eman, Tel Aviv University, recipient of the Israel PrizeDr. (emeritus) Mark Levene, Department of History, University of Southampton UK; ParkesCentre for Jewish/non-Jewish Relations; recipient of the Lemkin Prize of the Institute for theStudy of GenocideProf. Neil Levi, English Department (chair), Drew UniversityDr. Anat Matar, Department of Philosophy, Tel Aviv UniversityProf. (emeritus) Paul Mendes-Flohr, Dorothy Grant Maclear Professor Emeritus of ModernJewish History and Thought and Associate Faculty in the Department of History, The Universityof Chicago Divinity School; Professor Emeritus of Jewish Thought, The Hebrew University ofJerusalemProf. Isaac Nevo, Department of Philosophy, Ben-Gurion University of the NegevProf. (emeritus) Adi Ophir, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science andIdeas, Tel Aviv University; Visiting Professor of the Humanities, The Cogut Institute for theHumanities and the Center for Middle East Studies, Brown UniversityProf. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, School of Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; TheDavid Yellin Academic College of Education; co-recipient of the Sakharov PrizeProf. Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, Department of Jewish History, Ben-Gurion University of theNegev, recipient of the Zalman Shazar Prize for Jewish HistoryProf. (emerita) Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, Departments of English Literature and ComparativeLiterature, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; member of the Israel Academy of Sciences andHumanitiesProf. Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Head of the Talmud and Late Antiquity section, The Department ofJewish Philosophy and Talmud, Tel Aviv UniversityProf. Michael Rothberg, 1939 Society Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies, Department ofComparative Literature, University of CaliforniaProf. Catherine Rottenberg, Department of American and Canadian Studies, University ofNottinghamProf. Barry Trachtenberg, Michael R. and Deborah K. Rubin Presidential Chair of JewishHistory, Department of History, Wake Forest UniversityProf. David Shulman, Department of Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem,member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, recipient of the Israel Prize and of theEMET PrizeProf. (emeritus) Moshe Zuckermann, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy ofScience and Ideas, Tel Aviv University


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https://www.dw.com/en/germany-right-wing-extremists/a-54105110  

  Number of right-wing extremists in Germany on rise, security report suggests

Right-wing extremism increased in Germany last year, the country’s domestic intelligence agency has reported, with over 32,000 extremists identified. The report also found that more suspects are prepared to use violence.

   

Right-wing extremism poses the biggest threat to security in Germany, the country’s interior minister said Thursday at the presentation of the 2019 report by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency.

In Berlin, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and the head of Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) Thomas Haldenwang presented the organization’s most recent findings, which showed that right-wing extremism in Germany sharply increased last year.

According to the report, the BfV identified 32,080 right-wing extremists in Germany in 2019, up from 24,100 the year before.

The BfV classified 13,000 of these cases as prepared to use violence, 300 more than in 2018.

Right-wing extremism, racism, and anti-Semitism continue to increase in Germany, Seehofer said.

“These areas are the biggest threat to security in Germany,” he said.

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Former AfD faction boosts extremist numbers

Seehofer pointed to government action over the last year, saying no other government in Germany had done so much to fight far-right extremism.

In recent months, several extreme far-right organizations were banned for views or activities deemed anti-constitutional.

For the first time this year, the BfV report also reviewed the activities and member of the radical “Flügel”, or Wing, faction of Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Read more: Preventing terrorism: What powers do German security forces have?

The controversial faction officially disbanded earlier this year after the BfV put the group under surveillance. But the agency estimates there remains a membership of around 7,000 individuals, some 20% of the AfD.

This accounts for a significant share of the increase in right-wing extremists recorded by the BfV in 2019.

“Racism and anti-Semitism emerge to a very considerable degree out of right-wing extremism,” Seehofer said. “Over 90% of anti-Semitic incidents can be traced back to right-wing extremism.  And therefore it is not an exaggeration to say this is the biggest security policy concern in our country.”

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Germany: The far right on the rise

Left-wing extremism also on the rise

The report also noted an uptick in left-wing extremists, logging 33,500 extremists from the far-left spectrum in 2019 compared to 32,000 the year before.

“Characteristic of the left-wing extremist scene is its pronounced heterogeneity,” the report said. “The left-wing extremist scene can be divided into two camps — violent and non-violent left-wing extremists.”

The BfV recorded 6,449 criminal acts motivated by left-wing extremism in 2019, up from 4,622 in 2018, a near 40% increase.  Just over 900 of these crimes were considered violent.

Islamic terrorism also remains a significant threat, the report found.

“The danger of [Islamic] terrorism in Germany is still very high,” Seehofer said, adding that the BfV had identified nearly 650 cases of the threat of Islamic terror last year.

Attacks and planned attacks in Germany and Europe are, however, declining overall, the report said.

Breaking the trend

BfV head Haldenwang noted that the coronavirus crisis had pushed recent right-wing attacks in Germany out of the news cycle, but said the security agency continued in its work preventing such events.

Among far-right extremists there exists a “competition” as to which attack can result in the highest number of victims, Haldenwang said.

“We’re talking about breaking a ‘high score’ of number of victims,” he said. “We have to break this trend.”

To this end, Haldenwang called on the media to resist putting too much focus on the perpetrators of terrorist attacks.

kp/rs (AFP, dpa, epd)  

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