On 14 October, Iris Hefets, a 56-year-old psychoanalyst, stood alone in a public square in Berlin and held up a sign. On it, she had written: “As an Israeli and Jew, stop the genocide in Gaza” – on one side in English, and on the other in German.

Very quickly, police officers stationed nearby arrived. They told Hefets that she was not allowed to do this and that she must take the sign down. A crowd formed and started filming. Hefets, who’s lived in Germany for the past 20 years, politely argued with authorities, saying that she just wants to stand alone with her sign, that she’s not causing any trouble.

This was happening on Hermannplatz, in Neukölln, a neighbourhood in the south of Berlin with a big Middle Eastern and Arab community, Palestinians in particular. It was one week after the 7 October attack by Hamas that subsequently launched Israel’s war on Gaza. In Germany, like in the past two years, authorities reacted by banning all public gatherings that might be considered pro-Palestinian.

The reason that Hefets had insisted on standing alone on Hermannplatz was because law professionals told her that the German constitution states that being alone does not constitute a gathering – it only becomes potentially illegal if several people gather.

“Over 850 arrests were made by Berlin police in the first three weeks following 7 October, mostly of people with presumed pro-Palestinian sympathies”

The Berlin police’s justification for banning pro-Palestinian demonstrations was that such gatherings would bring “an imminent danger” of “seditious, anti-Semitic exclamations” and “violent activities”.

Over 850 arrests were made by Berlin police in the first three weeks following 7 October, mostly of people with presumed pro-Palestinian sympathies. This does not include people who were detained at protests, which is estimated to be in the hundreds, according to legal experts.

In response, Jewish artists, writers, and scholars warned that Germany’s “disturbing crackdown on civic life”, including the ban on public gatherings, has been used to scapegoat its large Arab and Muslim community and restrict freedom of speech, including legitimately criticising Israel or expressing solidarity with Palestinians.

read more: https://www.newarab.com/analysis/how-pro-palestine-jews-are-resisting-germanys-mccarthyism

  • PhineaZ@feddit.de
    link
    fedilink
    arrow-up
    10
    arrow-down
    6
    ·
    6 months ago

    We definitely have issues with police and politicians cracking down on unwanted protests. However, this specific case seems blown out of proportion. You very much can criticise Israel in Germany, some right-wingers however use that as a honeypot-strategy to predominantly draw out arab migrants (“see, they are anti-semitic!”). It really doesn’t help when people actually ARE anti-semitic beyond criticising Israel.

    • Deceptichum@kbin.social
      link
      fedilink
      arrow-up
      11
      arrow-down
      3
      ·
      6 months ago

      Doesn’t sound that way?

      Because she doesn’t appear to be a right-winger, and the only reason the state couldn’t use force to silence her on this was because she exploited a loophole by being alone. If there were two of her there, they would have used that as grounds to stop her so I don’t think it’s only being used to silence anti migrant right wingers.

      • PhineaZ@feddit.de
        link
        fedilink
        arrow-up
        3
        ·
        6 months ago

        You seem to have misunderstood me: Right-wing politicians utilise various strategies to “identify” anti-semitic arab migrants (with very large quotation marks) by equating support for Palestina to anti-semitism. Is it stupid? Yes of course. Does that mean that all of Germany is practicing an arab-scare? Fuck no. Besides: it is not about “using force”. Regulations dictate that you have to previously register or at least announce any type of public assembly, especially demonstrations. It is not a huge crime if you don’t, but you will face a fine and it WILL be dissolved. That also holds for actually anti-semitic demonstrations, demonstrations organised by the AfD or other national-populistic parties, demos against vaccines etc. You have a right to demonstrate, but you have to follow certain guidelines. In this case you argue that it was not a demonstration as it was only one individual and I believe you are correct here. The whole thing could have probably been avoided by a) registering a proper demo and b) living in a nicer part of Germany (as stupid as that sounds, but some countries are definitely more strict and shitty than others when it comes to foreign-looking people). This way, all we did was provide a nice headline for people to get angry about. Well done.