No to censorship of opponents of war! Stop the genocide in Gaza! Protest December 12 at Ruhr University Bochum!

While a deliberate massacre of the women and children of Gaza is being committed before the eyes of the whole world, the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) has banned the International Youth and Students for Social Equality from organising an event entitled “Stop the genocide in Gaza!” This is outright political censorship designed to suppress any discussion of the German government’s brutal policies in Israel and Palestine. We therefore call on all readers and students to join our demonstration “Stop the genocide in Gaza! No censorship of opponents of war at the rub!” on December 12 at 4 p.m. on the Uni-Brücke in Bochum.

Ruhr University Bochum [Photo by Sandro Halank / CC BY-SA 4.0]

University management justified the censorship on the grounds that “the title and content of the event” were not “compatible with applicable law” and “groups should not be condemned or discriminated against.” Also, the title “Stop the genocide in Gaza!” was “likely to provoke discrimination against certain groups due to prejudgments.”

This justification is outrageous in several respects. Expressing one’s opposition Israel’s onslaught in Gaza is not only protected by freedom of expression, numerous experts have also scientifically proven that a genocide is taking place.

The former head of the New York office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Craig Mokhiber, described the Israeli action as “a textbook case of genocide.”

“Explicit declarations of intent by leaders of the Israeli government and military leave no room for doubt or discussion,” the human rights activist wrote. Already on October 15, 800 experts from the fields of international law and conflict and genocide research warned of “a possible genocide in Gaza.”

Since then, the situation for the 2.2 million Palestinians in Gaza has deteriorated dramatically. In the first 60 days of the war alone, ten times as many children were killed as in the more than 600 days of the Ukraine war. The people of Gaza have been deliberately deprived of electricity, water and food, and they are being displaced from one area to the next, where they are constantly threatened with new air strikes and rapidly spreading disease. Clear statements by government officials leave no doubt that these are deliberate acts of expulsion or extermination of the Palestinians.

These atrocities are in no way about protecting Jewish life. On the contrary, Germany is supporting the genocide in order to pursue its own imperialist interests in the region. After the brutal wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria did not bring the desired success, Berlin and Washington are making the next attempt to bring the oil-rich region under their control. This also threatens Jewish life in the Middle East.

All the more cynical is the university management’s claim that our event against genocide and the escalation of the war in the Middle East discriminates against groups! We condemn the right-wing Netanyahu government and the masterminds in the German and American governments and not an ethnic group. Millions of Jews worldwide are taking part in the demonstrations against genocide, and resistance to the war policy is also growing in Israel.

Those who criticize the barbaric actions of the Netanyahu government are not antisemitic. Rather, it is those who blame the majority of Israelis or even Jews worldwide for these atrocities who are the real antisemites! It is not the millions of people around the world who stand in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinians who continue the tradition of the Nazis. It is the ruling class itself.

The ruling elite’s abuse of the memory of the greatest crime against humanity, the Holocaust, in order to justify new crimes is repugnant. Their “historical responsibility” is extremely selective. While its representatives justify in Israel every crime with reference to the Holocaust, in Ukraine they cooperate with open fascists and antisemites in an effort to subjugate Russia and bring Ukraine under German control, as it did 80 years ago. The 27 million Soviet citizens murdered by the Nazis, including over two million Jews, are not discussed in this context.

With its pursuit of an aggressive war policy in Ukraine and the Middle East, the ruling class is also drawing on its fascist traditions in its own country. All parties engage in intolerable incitement against refugees and Muslims. At the same time, fundamental democratic rights are being abolished. Demonstrations for peace in the Middle East are banned, leaflets confiscated and artists terrorized if they do not accept Israel’s attack on Gaza as Germany’s “reason of state.” In Berlin, the Oyoun Cultural Center is to be closed because it has rented rooms to Jewish opponents of the war and socialists.

War propaganda finds particularly sharp expression at the universities. At Berlin’s Humboldt University, our IYSSE group has been fighting for years against the trivialization of Nazi crimes and the rehabilitation of German militarism by professors such as Jörg Baberowski and Herfried Münkler. While Münkler wants to make Germany the “disciplinarian of Europe” again, Baberowski declares Hitler to be “not vicious” and the Holocaust to be “basically the same” as shootings in the Russian civil war.

Professors at RUB are also working on the ideological justification of rearmament and war. For example, Professor Jörg Schimmelpfennig, who holds the Chair of Economics, incites against “the dream of a rules-based world order” and instead argues for the massive rearmament of the Bundeswehr (German army). Peace, according to the professor, can only be enforced militarily.

Now the same universities that defend the trivialization of Nazi crimes and the worst militarism in the name of “freedom of scholarship” want to silence students who oppose the ubiquitous war propaganda. If it is up to university management, students should be grateful to swallow whatever is served them. The more absurd the arguments of the ruling class become, the more aggressively they act against criticism.

But we refuse to be intimidated by this. It is not only our right to oppose incitement, war and genocide, it is our historic duty. We therefore once again call on all readers and students to join our demonstration “Stop the genocide in Gaza! No censorship of opponents of war at the RUB!” on December 12 at 4 p.m. on the Uni-Brücke in Bochum.