Millions of people around the world are demonstrating against the genocide perpetrated by the far-right Israeli government against the Palestinians in Gaza. The vast majority of Humboldt University students are shocked by the horrific images from Gaza and strongly reject German support for the murder of innocent men, women and children.
Under these conditions, the youth organization of the Social Democrats, the Juso university group, is tabling a motion to the Student Parliament (StuPa) that explicitly backs the genocidal policies of the Netanyahu government and seeks to suppress any criticism of them. This must not be allowed. We call on all students to come to the StuPa meeting at Hedwig-Dohm-Haus (Ziegelstraße 5) on Tuesday, November 7 at 6:30 p.m. to prevent its passage.
Right at the beginning of their motion, the Jusos fully back the aggressive policies of the German government. The reason for the desperate uprising of the Palestinians, who have been brutally oppressed and humiliated for decades, is solely “sheer antisemitism.” Israel has “every right to defend itself!”
As if the annihilation and expulsion of two million Palestinians had anything to do with self-defense! According to the charity Save the Children, over 3,000 children under 18 have already been killed by the Israeli army in the last three weeks. Over half of Gaza’s homes have been destroyed or damaged. Over one million Palestinians have been forced on a hunger march to the south, where they continue to be bombed. Most recently, the bombing of the Jabalia refugee camp showed that the Netanyahu government will stop at no cruelty.
The German government supports this genocide in order to advance its own imperialist interests. As in the brutal wars against Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, the aim is to control the resource-rich region. US and German soldiers have long since been deployed to the Middle East to prepare for a war against Hezbollah, Iran and Syria that would plunge the entire region into an inferno and also destroy Jewish life there.
The mendacious accusation of antisemitism
It is therefore the height of cynicism for the Jusos to support this aggressive policy in the name of fighting antisemitism. A petition by Palestinian, Jewish and other students and staff of Berlin universities, which opposes solidarity with the Israeli genocide and deplores the restriction of academic freedom is summarily described by the Jusos as “antisemitic narratives.” Such statements should have no place at Humboldt University, the Jusos say.
They justify this call for censorship, including of Jewish voices, of all things, with the supposed historical responsibility of students in view of the experiences of the Third Reich! But it is not workers and young people—who are fighting for the freedom of the Palestinians—that stand in the terrible traditions of German imperialism, but the German government with its militaristic policy.
Right now the government is carrying out the biggest military rearmament since Hitler and financing it with cuts in health, education and housing. Seventy-eight years after the end of the Nazi regime, German tanks are again rolling against Russia; the ruling class is picking up the war aims of the two world wars. In order to plunder Ukraine and subjugate Russia, it is openly cooperating with antisemitic and right-wing radical forces.
Antisemites and Nazi collaborators such as Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych are revered as heroes by the Ukrainian government, and units of the Ukrainian army, such as the Azov Battalion, openly display their Nazi sympathies. On September 22, German Ambassador Sabine Sparwasser, on an official mission, honoured 98-year-old Waffen SS veteran Yaroslav Hunka with a standing ovation in the Canadian Parliament.
Humboldt University is a centre of this Nazi rehabilitation. Here, as early as February 2014, Eastern Europe professor Jörg Baberowski told Der Spiegel magazine that Hitler was “not vicious” and that the Holocaust was “basically the same thing” as shootings in the Russian Civil War. The university administration backed this falsification of history and defended Baberowski even when he physically attacked a StuPa deputy of the IYSSE and threatened, “Do you want me to punch you in the face?”
None of this can be found in the Jusos’ motion, which purports to be concerned about “the physical as well as mental health of Jewish and Israeli students.” The careerists of the Juso university group are not concerned with fighting antisemitism, but with defending German militarism. They want to suppress any criticism of their party’s right-wing policies on campus.
For an international movement against genocide and war
The lessons of 1933 and the role of the universities in Hitler’s rise to power are precisely to fight against the trivialization of Nazi crimes, against the return of German militarism, and against its crimes today, such as support for the genocide in Gaza.
Antisemitism is unquestionably a danger, but it comes not from the oppressed Palestinians, but from a ruling class that is reconnecting with its fascistic traditions. At the same time, antisemitism is closely linked to the racist agitation against Muslims and the SPD-led campaign against refugees. The fight against antisemitism therefore requires an international movement against militarism and war, which opposes every form of oppression.
A central task is precisely to fight the antisemitic myth that the majority of Israelis or even Jewish people around the world support the serious crimes of the radical right-wing Netanyahu government. In fact, demonstrations against the genocide in Gaza with strong Jewish participation are taking place not only in Israel but around the world.
These protests must be made the starting point of an international movement of the working class that opposes the warmongers in their own country through strikes and demonstrations. It must be directed against militarism and its root, capitalism.
From this standpoint, students must oppose in the strongest terms the attempts of the governing SPD, with the help of the careerists of its university group, to silence critical voices against the war policy.
We therefore once again call on all students to come to the StuPa meeting at Hedwig Dohm Haus (Ziegelstraße 5) on Tuesday, November 7 at 6:30 p.m. to prevent the passage of the Juso motion and to condemn the genocide in Gaza. The meeting is public and all Humboldt students have the right to speak in the StuPa.
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