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Urgent Request for Investigation and Remedy Action Regarding Human Rights Violations, Race and Ethnic Based Discrimination and Targeted Suppression of Immigrants, Political Leaders and Civil Society, by the German Government

Open Letter to the United Nations


This is a letter to the UN written by activists and organisations in Germany, published on theleftberlin on their behalf


  • Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Head, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • Verene Albertha Shepherd, Chairperson, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
  • Amy E. Pope Director General,, International Organization for Migration (IOM)


  • António Guterres Secretary-General, United Nations (UN)
  • United Nations Headquarters

Dear Representatives,

We are writing to bring to your attention a matter of utmost urgency and significance regarding recent human rights violations in Germany, particularly concerning the suppression of free speech and blanket political repression of millions of people.

Since Israel’s lethal aggression on Gaza has intensified, in response to the Hamas terrorist attack of October 7th, Germany has been suppressing free speech far beyond any reasonable measure or democratic nature, as outlined by an open letter from Jewish artists, writers and scholars (1) published on 23rd of October.

Germany is home to one of the largest populations of Palestinian refugees in Europe, and part of the greater diaspora stemming from Israeli displacement of indigenous peoples. As a result, there is a large community of people wishing to demonstrate against Israel’s disproportionate response and publicly mourn the civilians killed. However, peaceful, lawful protests led by Palestinian and Jewish diaspora groups across the country have been prevented with, for example, a blanket ban in Berlin, of any protest (2), demonstration, or vigil, which was in effect from October 14 to 20, 2023. Virtually all of the cancellations, including those of gatherings organized by Jewish groups, have been justified by the police in part due to the “imminent risk” of “seditious, antisemitic exclamations(3). These claims, we believe, serve to suppress legitimate nonviolent political expression that may include criticisms of the actions of the Israeli government (4).

These acts of silencing are carried out under the German federal government’s consensus that, “Germany stands firmly with Israel. Israel is acting in self-defense” (5). Germany applies the operating definition of antisemitism as defined by the IHRA (6), which has been criticized as “misused” for shielding Israel from criticism (7).

As a result, individuals and groups in Germany who express public opposition to Israel’s blockade and siege on Gaza, including wearing symbols in support of Palestine, have been detained, threatened, questioned and arrested by police – with a tendency for racial profiling as highlighted by Amnesty International in 2021 (8). Critical individuals, groups and institutions in support of the Palestinian people or of a future political solution that guarantees equal rights, dignity and freedom for all people in Israel-Palestine – regardless of their ethnic origin or religion, are at risk of being politically sanctioned, blacklisted and defunded (9).

Meanwhile, a large part of the observing world agrees that Israel’s actions go far beyond self-defense, and many experts have already said it potentially constitutes a genocide (10).

We acknowledge that the German Constitution, the Basic Law (Grundgesetz), contains provisions that protect the rights to freedom of speech (11) and assembly (12). These constitutional provisions also closely align with international law and the principles enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

  • Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
  • Article 20(1): Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

Collectives and gatherings of people are fundamental to expression of political thought and public discourse – not something we are meant to do alone at home or on social media. This is the pumping heart of public life. It is also protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights, to acknowledge some of the highest international laws.

We write to you with grave concern over the suspension of these rights as part of a broader overcompensation by Germany over its past crimes against humanity, which are used to justify the deadly support of Israel’s political and military breaches of international rule of law and likely genocide committed today.

The chilling effects can already be observed in government-funded cultural institutions, schools and the general public:

  • Jews have been fired from their jobs (13) in publicly funded institutions for speaking about internationally recognized practices of apartheid, oppression, and occupation.

  • The art exhibition of a Jewish artist was canceled (14) after she spoke in solidarity with Palestinians in a Berlin demonstration.

  • The Berlin Senate announced that schools are permitted to ban students from wearing the keffiyeh or other symbols connected to Palestinian culture and liberation. Statements such as “Free Palestine” can also be banned (15) on grounds that they “could be understood as support for the terrorist attacks against Israel or Hamas”, and thus are “a danger to peaceful co-existence in schools”. A demonstration by a parents’ collective against the measures was forbidden, as it “may contain Hamas sympathizers who could use such a demonstration to further their own agenda”.

  • The authors Sharon Dodua Otoo and Adania Shibli have been selected for two different literature awards. Both award ceremonies have been “put on hold”(16, 17) because of “possible proximity” to BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), a nonviolent movement which is considered an antisemitic organization in Germany.

  • Broadcast stations stopped working with a journalist of Palestinian descent (18) for expressing his understanding for Palestinians on social media.

  • Berlin’s Senator for Culture Joe Chialo (CDU) announced in a cultural committee meeting that the city would examine whether it will cut funding for the cultural institution Oyoun in Berlin, which could lead to its closing (19):

  • The impending closure of Oyoun was provoked by an event that took place on November 4, 2023 on the premises of Oyoun: an evening of “mourning and hope” by the organization Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East (20, 21), the German section of the international umbrella group European Jews for a Just Peace. The association is dedicated to “informing about the necessity and possibility of a just peace between Palestine and Israel” and “actively working towards the realization of a lasting peace that is viable for both nations”.

And those are just the most recent actions, that Germany has engaged in to suppress Palestinian voices. However, as seen in the case of Dr. Anna-Esther Younes, and countless others, what is currently happening is not an exception, but part of a long term pattern of firings, canceling, defunding, oppressing and silencing (22).

This is content-based discrimination with political motivations to censor and disrupt our communities, collaboration and to teach other communities to shun Jews and organizations who are critical of Israel’s politics.

Furthermore, the majority of the media is reporting only the narrative of the government and law enforcement. In an interview (23) on October 20, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, representing the governing coalition party, was asked to address the concerns related to “enemies of Israel with Arab background.” In this context, he emphasized the necessity for faster deportations of those “who do not have a right to remain in Germany”.

Notably, the governing coalition, consisting of the Social Democrats, Green Party and Free Democrats has introduced a resolution (24) with provisions similar to those proposed by the CDU/CSU, the opposition parliamentary group, only days earlier. The CDU/CSU’s resolution aims to combat alleged “imported antisemitism”: allowing for rapid denial of residency; deportation of immigrants accused of antisemitism or perceived to hold anti-Israel beliefs; potential revocation of German citizenship of dual nationals; making naturalization contingent on recognizing Israel’s “right to exist”; and never engaging in activism “against Israel.” Both drafts are currently under parliamentary discussion.

Given the current classification of all demonstrations in Berlin in solidarity with Palestinian civilians as broadly antisemitic by authorities – based on Germany’s non-legally binding adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism – this law proposed by the governing coalition would likely encompass a wide range of peaceful demonstrators and activists, including peace-seeking Jews, Israelis, Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims living in Germany.

We are at risk of losing fundamental democratic rights and those in power seem unaware of the dangerous path they are taking, with even Israeli publications such as Haaretz writing about the instrumentalisation of “Jewish pain” to stoke fear of Muslims:

“Germany’s second-largest opposition party, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), has seized the moment to shelve its antisemitism, at least in public, and unleash instead its unabashed Islamophobic agenda.” – Haaretz (25)

These extremists, too, hide behind the slogan, “We stand with Israel”, and continue their practices of hate-based discrimination without meaningful intervention to stop a dangerous agenda which threatens our existence. Many Palestinians, Jews, Israelis, Arabs, Muslims and foreign citizens living in Germany — as well as many German nationals — are now living in fear as unclear laws meant to intimidate, frighten and silence critical voices are enacted.

As Jews, we believe Germany has proven itself unfit to address its antisemitism in a real way and instead is using the concept to instill new fear and politicized hatred of Muslims, Arabs and immigrants – and to try to divide Palestinians and Jews who are peacefully organizing together in Berlin, around Germany and the world.

We have tried to convene with officials with intent to ease the tension, violence and brutality of the situation we face today in our communities in Germany. Formal requests to meet with political leaders and authorities have been ignored, denied or responded to with a level of arrogance in their policies – including statements declaring that police are within their duty to use force against unarmed, peaceful demonstrators, as it relates to this issue. Their self-imposed deafness to our pleas is why we now reach out to higher bodies to help ensure our protection under international law.

We, the peaceful groups taking action and facing repression in Germany, are calling upon the United Nations to investigate the political targeting and both subtle and violent repression, to intervene as an impartial actor and to restore political freedoms to the impacted public of Germany.

And finally, please investigate how siphoning of funding to cultural and social institutions has created a chilling effect in these arenas. It has made Germany predisposed to returning to oppressive behaviors and political repression by stamping out  any resistence to these tendencies, just as it has in the past.

These complaints and accusations are not new, but we have reached a new breaking point that has become so repressive that we must directly ask international bodies to recognize and call out these ongoing human rights violations.

We, the signers of this letter, represent community leaders, impacted people and organizations from various sectors.

We are Jews, Muslims, Germans, Israelis, Palestinians and international people living in Germany with a collective base of tens of thousands of people and a reach to hundreds of thousands, to whom we provide direct support.

Please contact us in reply for further testimony, evidence and data related to the complaint.

With Great Hope and Devotion to Peace and Justice,

Miriam Aberkane, Ceasefire Action Committee, Berlin

Wieland Hoban, Jüdische Stimme

Lili Sommerfeld, We Still Still Still Still Need to Talk Demo, Berlin

Biplab Basu, Kampagne für Opfer rassistischer Polizeigewalt (KOP)

Adam Broomberg, Artists + Allies x Hebron (AAH), Berlin

Ahmet-Kaan Sarun, Free Palestine Mannheim, Mannheim

Salah Said, PA – Palestinians & Allies, Berlin

Ferat Koçak, Member of Parliament of Berlin

Louna Sbou, Oyoun, Berlin

Palästina Spricht, Berlin

Zaytouna Rhein-Nekar-Kreis, Heidelberg

FACQ, Berlin

Hanif Shoaei, Documentarian , Berlin

Franz Beckenbauer, rest in shame

South African memories of German corruption


Who taught leading South Africa sports officials and politicians world-class corruption; specifically, how to buy hosting rights to the FIFA Soccer World Cup?

One prime suspect is the great mid-fielder Franz Beckenbauer, who passed away on Sunday January 7 in Salzburg, Austria, not far from his native Munich. I saw him play sweeper for the New York Cosmos in the late 1970s when he and other legends like Pele, Chinaglia and Cruyff – seduced by Yankee money (and certainly not the quality of U.S. competitors) – came to Washington, DC, where I then lived, to periodically defeat the Diplomats. The local team soon went bankrupt, twice. But Beckenbauer was a joy to watch, often commanding the whole pitch.

His field of play then widened further, into a leadership role at FIFA, the Swiss-based Federation of International Football Associations that runs the quadrennial World Cup. Sepp Blatter became FIFA chief executive in 1998, only resigning (in disgrace) 17 years later. In mid-2000, as the host of the 2006 World Cup was being chosen, Beckenbauer’s impact on South Africa was profoundly corrosive, prompting then-President Thabo Mbeki to, first, bitterly invoke the term ‘global apartheid’ – and then, when the South African couldn’t beat the world-class cheaters, he along with FIFA Local Organising Committee leader Danny Jordaan joined them, four years later.

The German team’s bidding strategy included bribery of FIFA delegates, using a €6.7 million slush fund set up by Adidas’ chief executive. (Earlier, the same firm’s leading shareholder had bribed French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde to get a large taxpayer bailout. Later, notwithstanding her 2016 conviction, she became leader of the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.)

Beckenbauer needed to act fast, because “By early 2000 South Africa seemed to be leading Germany in the scramble for the votes at FIFA’s ExCo,” especially after a round that eliminated Tony Blair’s British bid, according to FIFA’s most prominent critic, journalist Andrew Jennings:

“ One of England’s votes was cast by New Zealand’s Charlie Dempsey. He had been mandated by his regional confederation in Oceania to vote for England and when they dropped out, to back South Africa. Even if Germany picked up the other floating vote, the result would still be a draw, Blatter had to back the Africans. The result was now obvious. See you in Cape Town in 2006.”

German vote buying

But it was not to be, as Jennings recounts: “They voted for a final time: Germany 12 votes, South Africa 11 votes! See you in Munich in 2006. But that was only 23 votes. Somebody had not voted. Who was it? It was Charlie Dempsey. He had walked out between rounds. He was at Zurich airport, catching a plane home. Charlie dodged reporters as best he could but when cornered, babbled about ‘intolerable pressure’ on the eve of the vote.”

Dempsey was bribed $250,000 to abstain, admitted former German football federation president Theo Zwanziger – who along with Beckenbauer and two other German soccer officials, were prosecuted by Swiss authorities from 2016-21. Tellingly, both the criminal probe and an internal FIFA investigation into German corruption were aborted because they took too long, according to authorities, in part because Covid proved disruptive to prosecutors in October 2020.

Just weeks before the vote, Dempsey met Beckenbauer. The subsequent violation of Dempsey’s mandate to support South Africa was considered by New Zealand’s Sports Minister Trevor Mallard such a ‘national disgrace’ – “Mr. Dempsey has damaged the international reputation of our country” – that Prime Minister Helen Clark was compelled to quickly call Mbeki to apologise.

While Beckenbauer and the Germans celebrated, and British Commonwealth countries felt betrayed by Dempsey, according to Jennings, “Blatter had to comfort Africa. The South African Football Association was so angry that there was talk of taking the obviously crooked decision to arbitration. Blatter talked them out of it and promised that in future the World Cup would be rotated through the continents – and Africa would stage the 2010 tournament.”

How had Dempsey been persuaded, and how had other FIFA executive votes gone to Germany?

According to Spiegel magazine in 2015, “the German bidding committee created a slush fund in its effort to land the rights to host the 2006 World Cup. Senior officials, including football hero Franz Beckenbauer, are believed to have known about the fund. In what could turn out to be the greatest crisis in German football since the Bundesliga bribery scandal of the 1970s, Spiegel has learned that the decision to award the 2006 World Cup to Germany was likely bought in the form of bribes.”

The slush fund was, Spiegel insisted, “filled secretly by then-Adidas CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus” and was “used to secure the four votes belonging to Asian representatives on the 24-person FIFA Executive Committee.” The source of the specific Dempsey bribe is still unknown.

Though he denied explicit bribery, Beckenbauer admitted there was a slush fund: “I, as the president of the organisation committee at the time, carry the responsibility for this mistake.”

South Africans learn to play, the FIFA-Beckenbauer way

Having being taught a sobering lesson about FIFA’s modus operandi, in 2004 Mbeki initiated a $10 million so-called ‘African Diaspora Legacy Programme,’ drawing upon what should have been a FIFA fund to build South African grassroots soccer. And no such programme existed to help African continental soccer because it was well known by then that South Africa’s competitor for the 2010 hosting, Morocco, had already bought too many delegates, who then voted against South Africa in that year’s FIFA vote for 2010 hosting rights.

The secret emerged in 2015. Although Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula then postured incoherently about the attention to his team’s graft, it was obvious that the ‘Diaspora’ fund was meant solely to influence the leader of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf), Jack Warner, and his U.S. ally Chuck Blazer. The latter received $750,000, but in 2011 began cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, leading to 2015 prosecutions of FIFA leaders, including Warner.

What had happened, the Sunday Times reported in 2015, citing the words of a FIFA Botswana official who was surreptitiously taped, was that back in 2004, “Warner ‘ditched’ Morocco because the South Africans offered him a bigger bribe.” (The same source, a Botswanan leader within FIFA, claimed that Morocco actually won the vote but Blatter gave it to South Africa anyway.)

At the time, according to reporters from South Africa’s leading investigative journalist network, amaBhungane, “South Africa was acutely aware of the need to get the three votes Concacaf controlled on the Fifa executive and pulled out all the stops to lobby Warner. If there was a secret SA government commitment, as alleged in the US indictment, then it might account for why Jordaan is so angry at being left holding the $10-million baby.”

The profound dishonesty and abuse of public resources for which FIFA became so well known also left smeary reputational damage in its wake. And yet twenty years after South Africa’s bribery of Warner, the three key figures – Mbeki (an often unwelcome political meddler in his own party since his ouster from power in 2008), Jordaan (since 2013, head of the SA Football Association) and Mbalula (since 2021, operational head of the ruling party) – remain influential and extremely controversial, and are still in denial about the implications of spending the $10 million on Warner and Blazer.

Beckenbauer fell ill not long after Spiegel’s 2015 allegations, and then became a recluse, in part because of his son’s painful death but also due to the FIFA scandal. His passing has generated heartfelt, deserved thanks for his on-the-field soccer leadership, and sympathy to be sure – but not enough self-reflection by Germans about his off-field fraud – and about their own role in the world.

Not another genocide?

This was especially evident on January 12, when the Social-Democratic/Green/Liberal coalition government announced it would formally back Israel against South Africa’s genocide charge at the International Court of Justice, becoming the first country to formally join Tel Aviv in the historic case which aims to halt slaughter of more tens of thousands of Palestinians. South Africa’s allies include Brazil, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey, Bolivia, Colombia, Jordan and former German colony Namibia – the victim of a 1904-08 genocide. Such open promotion of a Nakba2.0 now occurs in the wake of Germany’s own 1933-45 Nazi extermination of six million Jews and, in South Africa’s next-door neighbour, the near-extermination of the Nam and Herero people.

At a Berlin protest I attended on January 13, several South African flags were waved alongside Palestine’s. One sign asked the obvious question, “Really Germany. Supporting another genocide? How original.”

Likewise, observed South African physician Tlaleng Mofokeng, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, “The state (Germany) that committed more than one genocide throughout its history is trying to undermine the efforts of a country (South Africa) that is a victim of colonialism and apartheid, to protect another genocide and an occupying nuclear power (Israel).”

Namibian president Hein Gage was furious: “Germany cannot morally express commitment to the United Nations Convention against genocide, including atonement for the genocide in Namibia, whilst supporting the equivalent of a holocaust and genocide in Gaza.”

A culture of corporate greed and corruption

All this reminds how in pre-1994 Apartheid South Africa, prolific profits for West German companies – including military manufacturers Daimler-Benz and Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, Deutsche Bank, CommerzBank, Hermes Kredit-Versicherungs and Siemens – were remitted to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, as the country’s core conservative political leadership – especially Helmut Kohl and Franz-Joseph Strauss – openly backed the white fascists into the 1980s. (The East German state was very different, as were progressives in German civil society.)

In the post-Apartheid era, the most decisive German ruling-class attack on South Africans – and the rest of the world – was when Angela Merkel led European opposition to an attempt at the World Trade Organisation to accept intellectual property waivers for Covid-19 vaccines. The campaign, led by Pretoria and backed by more than 100 countries, lasted from October 2020 to June 2022, but in mid-2021 in one showdown in the U.S. Merkel refused to budge, protecting corporate power in general but specifically, as the NGO Health Global Access Project complained in 2021, “she proudly and nationalistically praises Germany’s allegedly homegrown BioNTech and Curvax mRNA vaccines.”

And still today, in the spirit of apartheid profiteering and of Franz Beckenbauer’s role at FIFA, corporate Germany remains rife with corruption, which still regularly leaks into South Africa:

  • Last week, leading German software firm SAPS was successfully prosecuted – and paid $220 million in fines – for bribery of mainly African politicians and officials, including South Africans.
  • The worst-case incident of bribery in South Africa’s energy parastatal Eskom occurred via a ruling-party fundraising firm in 2007, and was coordinated by a German national (Klaus-Dieter Rennert) who still runs Hitachi Power Europe, the incompetent builder of the two largest coal-fired power stations in the world.
  • Auto makers VW, BMW and Mercedes cheated on greenhouse gas emissions during the 2000s, and when this was discovered in 2015 it crashed the platinum price – with South Africa controlling 85% of the metal, used in catalytic converters – leading to a sharp collapse of the mining sector.
  • South Africa’s biggest-ever case of corporate fraud, Steinhoff, reflected the firm’s German roots and founder’s inadequate oversight, as well as German corporate mismanagement during the 2010s.
  • A German facilitator of Israeli genocide in Gaza, military equipment supplier Rheinmettal, still partners with South African arms parastatal Denel, resulting in ongoing ethical controversies and Cape Town production catastrophes.

All these (and other) German firms have caused terrible messes in South Africa, contributing to the local Johannesburg-Durban-Cape Town business elite’s ranking as the world’s most prone to “economic crime and fraud” during the 2010s, according to PwC.

Along with Franz Beckenbauer’s slush-fund legacy and Berlin’s support for Israeli genocide, German elites continually remind the world why such a durable and rancid ruling-class culture deserves, from the rest of us, relentless Red Carding.

German Elites Are Redefining Antisemitism So They Can Be the Victims

Berlin’s cultural senator has announced that public funding for artists will depend on a loyalty oath for Israel. This has nothing to do with fighting antisemitism — it’s actually a smokescreen to cover up for the deep-seated antisemitism of Germany’s establishment.


On Monday, up to 1,000 artists and cultural workers protested in front of the Berlin parliament. The city’s cultural senator, Joe Chialo of the conservative CDU, has declared that in order to get public funding artists and cultural institutions will need to sign a loyalty oath for the State of Israel, as well as distance themselves from “extremism” and support Israel’s “right to exist.” Chialo believes that the German capital’s cultural scene is full of “hidden antisemitism.” His first action to stop “hidden antisemitism” was shutting down the cultural center Oyoun — they had dared to provide space for an event by the Jewish anti-war group Jüdische Stimme.

This is a disturbing redefinition of the term “antisemitism.” Historically, it has referred to hatred against Jews. According to the German government, however, now any critic of Israel is guilty of antisemitism — just as any supporter of Israel can be a victim of it. This regularly leads to the same bizarre situation: a German politician accusing a Jew of antisemitism. 

I first witnessed this seven years ago. Jutta Dittfurth is a scion of the House of Dittfurth, an aristocratic clan that was heavily involved in the Nazis’ crimes. Today she is an unremarkable right-wing influencer, yet decades ago she was something of a leftist. As recently as 2014, she was speaking at Berlin’s Revolutionary May Day. Not long after that, she declared that the May Day protests had been the site of “antisemitic attacks.” What she meant was that she, a German aristocrat, had defended the State of Israel — and she had been criticized for this by an Israeli Jew. Thus, Dittfurth was “presenting herself as a victim of antisemitism.”

German elites have convinced themselves that they “get” antisemitism in a way that Jews simply can’t. They seem to have gained enlightenment through genocide. An example: When Der Spiegel did a bizarre takedown of Greta Thunberg, the only climate activist in the entire world they could find who didn’t support Palestine was Luisa Neubauer, a leader of Fridays for Future in Germany. Neubauer was ready to accuse the entire climate movement of antisemitism. How does she know? Is she particularly close to Jewish culture? Has she been a scholar of anti-Jewish discrimination? No, the only qualification she referred to is that her great-grandfather from the Reemtsma dynasty was an SS member who donated huge sums to the Nazi party. Inheriting a ton of money from Nazis seemingly offers a unique education in liberal humanist values.

This absurd redefinition now has a basis in German law, since the Bundestag adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism. More than 100 Israeli and international civil society groups have objected to this standard, and even the author had said it is being inappropriately weaponized, yet the German government claims it understands antisemitism better than anyone else.

You don’t have to be a lawyer to see that the IHRA text is “bewilderingly imprecise.” It defines antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.” A “certain perception” could be anything or nothing. Particularly useful to German elites is the idea that antisemitism can be “directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals” (emphasis added).

The IHRA definition is accompanied by eleven examples, some of which are uncontentious: “holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” or “accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel” are two obvious forms of antisemitism. Yet further examples claim that calling the Zionist state racist or undemocratic is equally antisemitic — meaning that Jews around the world protesting on the streets right now are also Jew haters. The IHRA definition describes Israel as the expression of “the Jewish people’s right to self-determination,” thus equating Israel with all Jewish people. Therefore, according to the IHRA definition, the IHRA definition is antisemitic. Given all these logical absurdities, actual scholars of antisemitism have developed a clearer definition that distinguishes between antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

Is the German state simply being overzealous in its crusade against antisemitism? A week ago, a German newspaper revealed that Horst Seehofer supported a revisionist historical association for decades. The ZFI systematically attempted to relativize the crimes of the Wehrmacht and even cast doubt on the facts of the Holocaust. Seehofer, Germany’s former interior minister, is a member of the CDU/CSU, just like Chialo. I reached out to Chialo office’s for comment on this disturbing case of antisemitism. I got no response. As far as I can tell, no politicians have demanded consequences — Seehofer hasn’t even apologized.

The talk of  “hidden antisemitism” is a smokescreen for the deep-seated antisemitism of Germany’s elites. Let’s look at two more examples from the CDU. One of the early leaders of the CDU was Hans Globke, who in 1936 had helped author the Nazis’ Nuremberg Laws. CDU chief Konrad Adenauer protected numerous Nazi war criminals, including Globke. Until today, the party gets big piles of money from the Quandt family, the billionaire heirs of Nazi war criminals. In a very recent scandal, when Nazis and AfD members got together for a secret meeting to plan the “remigration” of millions of people, they were at a hotel owned by CDU member Wilhelm Wilderink, who has provided space for numerous far-right events.

Looking at the list of people affected by censorship and cancellation in Germany, it’s hard to miss the fact that Jewish artists and intellectuals are massively overrepresented. This redefinition of the term “antisemitism” is helping the government attack Jewish life in Germany.

Chialo isn’t interested in antisemitism, whether hidden or open. If he were, he could look at his own party. But this entire campaign is about silencing critics of imperialism, both of German imperialism and its Israeli ally. It’s an attempt to put a liberal veneer on traditional German racism.

Non-Germans, Anmeldung, and Housing Rights

Speech at a recent Anmeldung für Alle conference


Hi everyone, we are from Right to the City, which is the English speaking working group of the Deutsche Wohnen & Co. Enteignen campaign to expropriate the city’s big landlords and socialize housing here in Berlin. 

We started Right to the City because it quickly became apparent that migrants face particular struggles of housing precarity. Our landlords take advantage of us by charging rents well over the market price and leverage other abuses on us because we are often still finding our footing in the completely different legal and linguistic context in this very special place we call Deutschland

We also established Right to the City to scandalize the fact that at least 25% of Berlin residents don’t even hold German passports, a necessary prerequisite to vote in the very referendum we were campaigning for. But we migrants are many, and we are determined to be a part of the struggle for housing justice anyway!

And we see the barriers to obtaining Anmeldung-secure living situations as yet another extension of these housing injustices in Berlin. In fact, the difficulties of accessing Anmeldung-possible housing are linked with many of the same issues we are combating through the DWE campaign. 

That’s because multinational corporations like Deutsche Wohnen and Vonovia control the housing market and make their profits by leeching off of us tenants, and these big landlords currently control at least 240,000 flats here in Berlin. They are instrumental in maintaining housing scarcity, hiking rents beyond affordability, discriminating against us migrants, and making it very difficult to secure long term contracts. 

So many of us are pushed into unstable living situations as subletters where Anmeldung is not possible, and increasingly, many more of us are on the brink of homelessness moving from one overpriced, short-term WG to another every couple of months. I’m sure we don’t even have to tell you what this stuff is like to go through, because we’re pretty much all living it! And we have long been thinking about how to address these forms of housing precarity, which is why we are so excited to be included in the planning stages of the Anmeldung für Alle campaign. 

We believe that DWE’s fight for expropriation and Anmeldung für Alle’s fight against these kinds of restrictive bureaucratic hurdles go hand in hand. We also know from DWE’s successful referendum campaign that we are most effective when we stand in the knowledge that we as tenants are united in a common struggle. 

And we will be most successful in taking back our city if we form coalitions that tackle the problem from different angles by mobilizing across all sectors of Berlin’s population – migrants included. Because we ALL have the power – and the right – to shape our city. 

That’s why we are happy to support the Anmeldung für Alle campaign! Thank you ❤️

“Palestinians and non-Palestinians need to reclaim Berlin and Germany together”

Interview with Majed Abusalama (Palästina Spricht), activist and researcher from Gaza.


Hi Majed. Thanks for talking to us. For people who don’t know you, could you let them know who you are?

Yes. I am Majed Abusalama. I’m a Palestinian from Jabalia refugee camp in the North of Gaza. Jabalia has been under one of the most massive carpet bombardments, extermination, and mass murders, one block after the other. Most recently, 143 members of the Salem family, who were our neighbors for decades, and my extended family, the AbuUlba family of 70+ people are under the rubble at the moment of writing this article. Jabalia was not only known for fertile soil and citrus trees, but was also fertile with the history of refugees resisting the Israeli colonial power. The first Intifada started there in December 1987, as a spontaneous uprising and collective rage after the death of four Palestinian workers whose car was hit by an Israeli truck driver. Jabalia is like Palestine – it’s not only the largest refugee camp in all of Palestine, but it is as well an idea, it is like the big brother of the other refugees camps, therefore it has played the most integral part of the Palestinian struggle for liberation and return.

I have lived in Berlin and Germany for about eight years, after I managed to escape the brutality of the Gaza military blockade, after wishing to live a normal life free of drones and polluted water with 24/7 electricity and some kind of safety which every human should deserve. But we know western imperialism is selective about that and the German state and its institutions especially is not interested in providing safety and normal lives to over 300,000 Palestinians: the largest Palestinian community in Europe who reside in Berlin. Therefore, I felt morally responsible to bring people together and organize to resist anti-Palestinian racism. I became involved in multiple levels in the migrant movement in Berlin. I’m one of the co-founders of Palästina Spricht, the Coalition for Palestinian rights and against racism, and the Ani-colonial Alliance. Before that I was a member of the Humboldt Three, where we took Israel to court in Germany and fought against the Zionist lobby, the Berlin Senate, and Humboldt University, who were complicit in hosting a war criminal, Aliza Lavie, who organised the attack on Gaza in 2014. We won that court case.

What’s the situation like in Gaza now? How are your friends and family?

This is one of the hardest questions to answer at the moment. It’s beyond a genocide, it is the most painful to watch from afar, 93 days after and feeling helpless, sleepless, and tired. It’s a never-ending nightmare, it’s beyond suffering, it’s beyond starvation, it’s beyond bombing, it’s beyond forced displacement and ethnic cleasing, it’s beyond collective punishment, it’s beyond targeting and killing any Palestinians, using all the technical weaponry possible, it is beyond wiping out Palestine and the Palestinians. It is a war against the idea of Palestine. Yesterday [10th December], my mom finally managed to leave Gaza, after 65 days. The rest of my family is still in Gaza, my sick old father, Ismail, my brother Mohammed, his wife, Asmaa, and my two nieces, Eleaa, and Naya. I am heartbroken to watch them from far and not feel that I could do more than organizing actions. It is important what are we acting, and we must escalate the pressure and develop more concrete and effective mechanisms to disrupt the global infrastructure. We are the only hope, when Western politicians are not only complicit, but they are blocking any way to stop the genocide. But also, they whitewash Israeli crimes against humanity and justify a “self-defense” for a colonial power in the Global South. It is ridiculous world we live in, but history will judge.

People from below, and grassroots communities, people of the Global South, Jews worldwide, and some of the largest demonstrations in history have been happening for over three months. Not only to stop the genocide and call for a ceasefire – people are also waking up to the fascist infrastructure which they live within and decolonzing it, same as in Berlin where many collectives and individuals are coming together from the art, culture, film, education, and others to make a resistance front to German imperialism and repression of Palestine. Of course, people are resisting for collective liberation and Gaza is the school of unlearning nowadays for many of those who want to unlearn whiteness and resist capitalism and imperialism. In Gaza, despite the strong local resistance, we must remember that they’re fighting one of the most militarized nations in the planet. It is not only fighting Israel, but they’re also fighting Germany. German Special Forces are intervening from a base in Cyprus and support Israeli colonial forces at any time needed. The USA increased funding by about $14 Billion. The UK has sent drones and is helping the surveillance of our community. The people who were forced to evacuate are the target of Germany, the UK, USA, and other countries’ weapons. The Western arms industry is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this genocide.

Israel put a huge killing mechanism to strongly intimidate the people out of Gaza City and the North of Gaza, mainly Jabalia Refugee Camp, where half a million people were living. But half of the refugee camp and its surrounding did not follow the Israeli forces orders and preferred to stay in their homes, while referring to another Nakba which they did not want to allow to happen as in 1948. 80% of people in Gaza are refugees and the ancestors of refugees, who have experienced ethnic cleansing and persecution and exploitation of their resources and everything they have lived, and have been living for decades under the Israeli settler colonial regime. They were faced with the images of starting from zero again in another refugee camp with a tent – they don’t want to do it again and repeat their grandparents’ experiences when they were promised to return and never returned. They are not willing to leave and happy willing to pay any price for the idea of Palestine and being a Palestinian.

If you look at the North of Gaza, which has been under military blockade and carpet bombing, and heavy clashes with Israeli air and land forces for weeks, it is clear that people didn’t want to leave and are willing to resist any attempt to enter the heart of the refugee camp. This made Israel crazily bomb the North of Gaza and Jabalia refugee camp, and impose huge restrictions on the entrance of food. They are bombing housing blocks where thousands of people have been killed, and hundreds of families have been wiped out, and 93 days after, the Israeli forces are not managing to enter the camp because of the young peoples’ resistance and power to respond with their local weapons and persistence.

Our experience of Israeli power shows that no place is safe. Israel military announcements said that the middle and South of Gaza would be safer. But Israel has never stopped bombing the South of Gaza after the so-called ceasefire. The situation is hard to endure or comprehend. But the resistance is a threat to the imperialists’ colonial capitalist infrastructure. It’s playing a huge role in the liberation not only of Palestine but everyone in the Global South. The Palestinian resistance has managed to give a crash course in Palestinian history to millions in the Global South, and worldwide, especially the new generations of TikTok and others who are at the forefront of virtual resistance online, supporting the Palestinian struggle for liberation and dismantling all Zionist trolls online, it is virtual decolonizing.

Some people in Germany are very reluctant to use the term genocide about what’s happening in Gaza now. What would you say to them?

Of course it’s genocide. Raz Segal, a Jewish Israeli historian called it a textbook example of genocide. Multiple UN law experts, the UN committee against racial dominations, and many human rights organizations have been speaking about more than a genocide. Israel never fails to surprise the world with their way of manufacturing and inventing ways of extreme repression. Any sane person, with any education, can read or watch and realize the impact of settler colonialism and see Israeli apartheid face to face. Any person can watch the images of Gaza and see more than a genocide. We even receive only 20% of what is actually happening in Gaza today after Israel killed more than 100 journalists, and most human rights organizations cannot access the strip because Israel is controlling everything in and out of Gaza!!

We don’t need to wait for Western powers to recognise genocide. Germany only recognised the Herero genocide in Namibia in 2021, almost 100 years after it happened. Western powers have never given us access to terminologies like genocide like they do with Ukraine. Everything is compared to Ukraine. We witness the hypocrisy and double standards of the Western so-called white nations that are built on selective humanity. We are looking for liberation and equality, which is not profitable in their opinion.

It took the ICC 10 years and they’re still not able to open an investigation against Israeli crimes against humanity and apartheid, now the South African State filed a complaint to the ICJ, and we see no Western country supported it. With Ukraine, everything, every file, experts were sent to support the ICC teams, and the complaint was open within less than one year. It’s the naked hypocrisy that we continuously witness and speak against but falls on the deaf ears of mainstream right wing politicians who clearly say that our right to life is not as important to them as those who are considered to be “white blood” or in the German context “Aryan”, Übermenschen. As people from the Global South, we see complete ignorance, complete betrayal, complete silence on Palestine and exploitation of all the Global South. They are not only standing next to the oppressor and the coloniser but they are our sub-colonizer and oppressor, they are part of the a whole Western imperialism which calls itself “civilized” but everything they did and are still doing is completely criminal, inhumane, and uncivilized, to mention some: in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Congo, Sudan, and the list is long.

I have never trusted the Western imperialist powers to give us justice, because they have never offered us justice. The only so-called justice that they offered Palestinians was Oslo, which was rejected by the majority of the Palestinians except some elite leaders who chose to become complicit and provide a sub-colonial liberal administration to the Israeli state without any sovereignty or any sense of liberation and decolonization. Since Oslo, settler enterprises have been increasing. Israel has used the colonial system to put us into Bantustans in the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestine is the current ongoing genocide, but before it was Iraq. There have also been lies about Syria. Every time a war happens, Germany is profiting with their weapons industry. Germany is overtaking Japan to become the third largest economy in the planet, a race over money not humanity. This is how racial capitalism is playing a huge role in the imperial divide and conquer and the new colonial ways of managing the Global South and the Palestinians in historic Palestine.

Wait 100 years, and maybe in 2123, Germany will admit that there was a genocide in Gaza..

I don’t trust Germany. I have lived in Germany, and been tortured and brought to court and brutally attacked by the police. I have been arrested and detained multiple times for being a Palestinian and fighting against the weaponisation of antisemitism to silence and censor the voice of Palestinians, who have been made invisible and intimated for decades.

I don’t think Germany is ready to learn or unlearn, because if they’re ready to learn, they would work on antisemitism from within the German State, on the more than 80% of antisemitic incidents which are performed by white Germans. Their Eurocentric, and German-centric way of looking at the rest of migrants or all the others is racist at the core, sadly, but it is the truth.

Therefore, I do not accept, and everyone must refuse that the German state and politicians will keep importing their antisemitism nationwide problem, and impose it on migrants, People of Colour, and people from the Global South, and especially Palestinians, because they are not willing to deal with their own Neo-Nazis and racism, and with their own whiteness. The thought that they’re still kind of the master race should completely be dismantled. Only fascists believe that they are better creatures. What kind of world are they living in?

They treat us as if they are morally superior on this, but they are not. They have stood on the wrong side of history all the time from Namibia, to Israel, to their many interventions in Africa, where their imperialist thinking has cost hundreds of thousands of lives throughout the Global South.

So, of course we don’t trust them. They are enabling genocide. German politicians failed to call for a ceasefire. It took them 60 days to start to call for humanitarian aid to come in. They have treated us as less than Untermenschen. Today, Germany is putting minority communities at risk because of their way of trying to be more morally superior and say they know who’s the real antisemite. But they have no courage to look at themselves in the mirror.

It’s impossible, particularly in Germany, to talk about the bombing of Gaza without mentioning October 7th. As someone from Gaza what what’s your take on what happened then?

October 7th reminds me of 75 years of ongoing slow genocide and ethnic cleansing, of mass invasions, aggressions and blockades, and many harsh and brutal dehumanizations that Palestine has had to go through. It also reminds me of the role of the Israeli settler colonial apartheid regime.

I’m really sorry for all innocent people have been who have been killed throughout the last 75 years of Zionist forces in Palestine. For me, the enemy of everyone – Jewish, Palestinian, or others, are the settler colonial apartheid regimes, which allow these extreme tensions to be there, through extreme injustice and inequality. My enemy is the German anti-Palestinian repression which survives through increasing the polarization between Jews, Palestinians, and others.

October 7th was a day in which Indigenous and oppressed people in Palestine felt that they could liberate Palestine. But I was also very scared about what was going to happen afterwards.

I still blame settler colonial apartheid regime, and especially the Zionist militia, for the polarisation. Colonial powers have played games to convince people that killing and slaughtering Palestinians is fair and just. This is a narrative which deprives people of their humanity and their history as ancestors of Holocaust survivors who paid a huge price during World War Two. Israeli is making hundreds of thousands of young 18-year-olds monsters, killers, and colonisers, and has brainwashed them to justify the mass murder, genocide, and extermination of Palestinians. Israel is dehumanising teenagers at an early stage and using them as killing machines.

Following the destruction of Gaza, people who were previously silent on Palestine have said we’ve got to do something. And yet despite large demonstrations, our governments are ignoring us. So what can people do to help Gaza?

Many white people have woken up, but not enough. In demonstrations in Germany, there have been few compared to those from the Global South., If you look at Berlin, where there are 5 million people, the largest demonstrations were between 40,000 and 50,000. And 70% or 80% on the demo were People of Colour and from the Global South.

Western Germany has not accepted Palestinian refugees at all, and completely repressed them to not speak about Palestine at all. We have been made completely invisible and unrecognised. They don’t even want to recognise us – as a Palestinian, my ID is XXA, which means unrecognised.

They don’t want to know that there are more than 300,000 of us in Germany, because if we are accountable then we will know our power. They know that we will not surrender to accepting settler colonial violence and an apartheid regime on our land or in Germany even if they drafted hundreds of laws. We will not surrender to throw away the right of return or the complete menu of liberation.

In my opinion, despite some polls that say that most Germans are standing with Palestine, Germans have been mainly silent and the German state and media have silenced and intimidated them on the topic of Palestine. Germans are paralysed, but younger Germans are less paralysed and thousands of them are joining our movement for Palestine and don’t want to be whitewashed or intimidated by their past learning in schools. They want to be critical and decolonize themselves. Look at London, look at other cities. Paris is the same size of Berlin. I think the demos in Berlin are great, I’m thankful and grateful. It’s the work of our collective liberation that everyone who wants to be on the right side of history should push and be an activist for Palestine and for other causes aimed at dismantling imperialist and colonial powers and racist capitalism.

Try and stop the companies who are complicit in crimes against humanity in Palestine, and in Iraq and Syria. Stop every arms trade company – the arms industry is the main sponsor of wars and genocide and we should erase it now. The weapons are being tested on our bodies. Our job is to work from within to liberate Palestine and the Global South from Germany and to stop the German state. We see how complicit the whole European and German spectrum is – in Germany there is no difference between the Linke, CDS, SPD, Greens, and AfD when it comes to Palestine. They are all united against Palestine, and against human rights and justice for Palestinians. The German Green Party is greenwashing colonialism and capitalism, the white imperial environmentalists are colonising the party which is completely excluding Palestine from their politics and threatening anyone to speak for Palestine as a green, environmental, and climate justice cause.

I hope that everybody can engage, I think we all must engage today because the far Right is expanding. Germany is very much at risk from the AfD and the growing neo-Nazi groups. As a person of colour, migrant, and Palestinian, I am scared, and it is scary because attacks against migrants are at a peak. And the German state prefers to speak about their own version of antisemitism, rather than about attacks on migrants or anti-Muslim racism or any other discrimination.

We all have a duty to push back and decolonize ourselves, and to learn new ways of engaging, and to unlearn all this whitewashing which the past generations of white Germans have been exposed to since school. Together we can fight and decolonise Palestine, to liberate Palestine and to liberate ourselves as well.

Berlin is one of the European cities with the most migrants. Germany has more migrants than most other countries in Europe. We need to make Berlin and Germany a safer decolonised space for Palestinians and non-Palestinians soon. We need to reclaim the city now, and today. We need to reclaim the country now and today. It’s a long road, but I’m very hopeful that we can do it.

One final question. Your sister Shahd, who lives in Britain, has been very active in sabotaging the arms company Elbit. Do you think that such a campaign is possible in Germany?

Everything is possible. We must escalate our actions in all directions at any cost. Every action of resistance against this establishment is legitimate. German arms companies have been involved in many different crimes against humanity, including settlements in Palestine. The German multinational Heidelberg Cement is complicit in Palestine, have been involved in a number of grave international law violations, which may amount to war crimes. German banks have supported the expansion of Israeli settlements. Germany has a huge power in Europe. I think if we are organised and if we have enough people who are courageous enough to put their privilege into supporting our collective liberation movement, we can do it. I have faith in the people, if I don’t, I wouldn’t be doing this interview, and organising for decades for Palestine and other cause.

We can block train stations. We can block arms companies and close factories in the same way that the Elbit actions have done, or in the same way which people in Genoa and Napoli harbours have been blocking the transportation of arms to Israel.

We can see that our liberation is connected to everybody’s liberation. We all have a responsibility to see how our taxes are being used, and we all have to test our values in relation to the people in Palestine and everywhere. Everyone deserves a fair human life.

If other people can do it, we can do it. The revolution is now and today. We all must jump in this ark.