News from Berlin and Germany, 15th May 2024

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Neukölln: ‘Mythos Israel 1948’ brochure in schools

The parliamentary group “the Left” in Neukölln has criticised the decision made by the CDU and SPD district council (BVV) on the use of the brochure ‘Mythos#Israel1948’ in schools. According to a Facebook post, the Left believes that politics is influencing the choice of schools materials. Moreover, the brochure itself does not clarify myths about Israel, but rather produces them. A panel discussion on the use of the brochure has been organised on 16 May (7 pm at Café Engels in Herrfurthstraße 21). Taking part are Middle East expert Hikmat El-Hammouri, Neukölln student Yazan Abo Rahmie and Udi Raz, PhD student at the Berlin Graduate School of Muslim Cultures and Societies. Source: berliner Zeitung

Police initiate 39 proceedings in Neukölln

The Berlin police have initiated 39 criminal investigations related to a pro-Palestinian demonstration and subsequent riots in the Neukölln district on Saturday evening. According to the police, the charges include suspected incitement to hatred, offences against the assembly law, attempted prisoner liberation and attacks on law enforcement officers. Around 1,500 people marched from Kreuzberg to Neukölln in the late afternoon. Individual participants threw bottles at police officers. The police said they had temporarily detained almost 50 people, in order to take their personal details. Around 220 police officers were deployed. Source: rbb



Nathan Thrall: award-winning there, but cancelled here

It was announced last Monday that Nathan Thrall is one of this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners. His book ‘A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy’, published in 2023, won in the non-fiction category. It deals with the reality of life for Palestinians under Israeli occupation in the West Bank. The next day, the author was due to speak about the current situation in Israel and Palestine at the Union International Club in Frankfurt am Main. However, few days beforehand, the club cancelled the event – without an official explanation. It is not the first time he has been “cancelled”. Source: nd-aktuell

AfD cannot shake suspicion

Last Monday, the AfD’s appeal against its categorisation by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) was rejected in Münster. This means that the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution can monitor the AfD as a suspected right-wing extremist organisation and inform the public about it. The same applies to the Junge Alternative, a now disbanded ‘wing’ of the party, which was even definitively categorised as right-wing extremist. The judgement is not yet final. As usual, a further assessment of the AfD will now be made in due course in an open-ended review process. Source: taz

Protesters attempt to storm Tesla German plant in Brandenburg

Last Friday, protesters opposed to the expansion of the U.S. electric vehicle company Tesla clashed with police. The activists claim the expansion would damage the environment. “We are here today to draw attention to the Tesla factory in Grunheide for the environmental destruction here,” Disrupt Tesla spokesperson Ole Becker told Reuters. The group also wants to highlight environmental destruction in other countries like Argentina or Bolivia, brought about by lithium mining, according to Becker. Lithium is a key resource for electric vehicle batteries. Some of the demonstrators have damaged a few Tesla cars using pyrotechnics and paint at a nearby car storage site, a police spokesperson added. Source: Reuters

Germany plans to end homelessness

The federal German government has released an Action Plan to eradicate homelessness by 2030. However, the plans have been critised by Homeless people and charities as too vague, although admirable. In recent years, homelessness has been on the rise, due to an ongoing lack of affordable housing. The 31-point plan includes ideas such as giving money to state governments to build social housing, and helping people get access to health insurance, among others. However, charities say the situation in the housing market is so desperate that, without any indication of how this will be achieved, it is little more than a statement of intent. Source: dw

Asylum seekers in Brandenburg to receive support as cash

The payment card for asylum seekers is to be introduced throughout Brandenburg with only some of the finanical support to be paid out in cash. A decision has now been made regarding the amount of support paid out in cash which does not meet demands of the Greens. According to the local government, adult asylum seekers in Brandenburg will receive 50 euros per month in cash, while children will receive 25 euros in cash. Refugees from Ukraine will not receive a payment card, as they receive citizens’ benefits. Source: rbb

German forests in poor condition

Many trees in German forests are sick. So says a survey carried out by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in 2023. Around 80 per cent of the most common species – spruce, pine, beech, and oak – are damaged. Such stressed condition is due to the heat, drought and beetle damage. Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) said during the presentation of new data in Berlin that only one in five trees is still completely healthy. ‘The forest is turning into a permanent patient.’ The study attributes the problems facing German forests to climate change. Source: rbb

Tags: ,