At the big anti-Israel demonstration on May 15 at Hermannplatz square in Berlin, there was an anti-Semitic attack. Three friends, two of whom were wearing a Star of David necklace, were physically attacked and insulted in the worst possible way. One man threatens, “I’ll spit in your face” and “You’re only here to provoke.” One of the victims says afterwards, “Wearing a Star of David as a provocation? That is deeply anti-Semitic”. Later, they still have to justify to the police why they appeared at such a demonstration wearing Stars of David. The incident was not reported by the police – it was made public by an article in the daily Tagesspiegel. A commendable journalistic job. But the Tagesspiegel would not be the Tagesspiegel if it did not completely destroy any semblance of reason in the next move – and that is exactly what happened.
This was followed in the newspaper by a commentary on the incident entitled “Not everything that is permitted is also wise” by Malte Lehming, who is listed as the newspaper’s managing editor. The author had apparently achieved questionable fame in 2010 by writing: “Better a few young, foreign intensive offenders than an army of old, intensely passive natives.
His comment this Wednesday reads as if someone is trying to provide a textbook example of perpetrator-victim reversal. Of course, Lehming adds: “The victim always remains a victim, is never even complicit in the acts of the perpetrators”. However, when the next word in the text is “but”, everything is actually said. Those who attack other people should be punished, “but that does not mean that any further discussion about wise situations is superfluous,” he writes.
“Clever situational behaviour” – this means that the victims should not have worn the Star of David necklace at all. Common sense dictates that a distinction be made between what is permitted and what is “required”. On the one hand, one would like to ask: Why actually? There are actually only critics of Israel at these demonstrations, they have nothing against Jews (or so they say). Or do they? Are Palestine demos no-go areas for Jews?
Lehming goes on to ask: “Who feels provoked by this?” He compares the situation to going to a right-wing radical demo wearing an Antifa shirt or setting up an AfD stand in the street Rigaer Straße (where the Antifa hotspot is, Ed.). However, as the Tagesspiegel itself writes in the initial article on the incident, the three people were not at the demo to provoke or to make any political statements at all. “The two women are on their way to friends. They were invited to Shabbat dinner. They meet Adam by chance on Hermannplatz square. Lara and Louisa wear Jewish symbols like a Star of David as a necklace around their necks.” it says.
But never mind. Of course, the author constantly emphasises that the victims are the victims and not the perpetrators, and that nothing should be confused. But somehow the victims are also supposed to have behaved wrongly. But then the question remains: Why this text? What does the Tagesspiegel author want to tell us? What is the message of this commentary? The Jews don’t need to be surprised either? That Jews in Germany had better wear their Stars of David secretly in future so as not to provoke “legitimate critics of Israel”?
What an inconceivable distortion: what is being demanded here, only moderately concealed, is that Jewish symbols should gradually disappear from public perception: out of consideration for the sensitivities of Jew-haters. This is called de-escalation – or “common sense”? Instead of asking how far it has come that there are no-go areas for Jews in Germany, Jews are being lectured on how they should deal with these no-go areas.
Appeasement is not even a word – a line has been crossed here. Does the Tagesspiegel really want to leave it at that?