Stop conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism, protesters tell German consulate

They demanded Germany stop supporting the war on Gaza and resume funding UNRWA

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Photo of protesters

People protest outside the German consulate in Cape Town on Friday morning over the country’s position on the war in Gaza. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

About 50 people gathered outside the German consulate in Cape Town on Friday morning, angered by the country’s stance on the war in Gaza.

A memorandum was read and handed to a consular official.

“Rather than speaking out against Israel’s mass murder of mainly women and children, the German state has instead chosen to intensify the repression of those who stand against the genocide of the Palestinian people,” the memo said.

The protesters demanded that Germany:

  • withdraw military, political, diplomatic and cultural support for Israel following the International Court of Justice finding it “plausible that Israel is committing genocide”;
  • stops conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism;
  • revokes its suspension of funding to the United Nations relief agency Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Professor Usuf Chikte, of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said they would call for the expulsion of the German ambassador and a boycott if Germany did not change tack.

Anthony Hodgson, of SA Jews for a Free Palestine, told the crowd, “We must be against antisemitism but we must also be against Zionism.”

Malvern De Bruyn, Western Cape COSATU secretary, said, “History recorded what happened in the Holocaust. That should have been a lesson for the Germans. But today they are taking that back to the people of Palestine.”

Christopher Schmidt, spokesperson for the Germany Embassy, said Germany supports “both the right to exist of the state of Israel and the right to self determination of the Palestinian people … Germany is pushing intensively for a diplomatic settlement … on the basis of a negotiated two-state solution”.

“Israel has a right to self-defence against the unprecedented attacks by Hamas within the confines of international law. At the same time, we see the unspeakable suffering of the civilian population in Gaza. Germany is one of the world’s leading supporters of the Palestinian Authority and of the global humanitarian relief efforts for the Palestinian people.”

“UNRWA’s role is vital for the provision of basic services to the Palestinian people. While no new funding will be made available by Germany, pending UNRWA’s investigation into the extremely grave allegations, Germany’s current funding remains unaffected. At the same time, Germany is stepping up its humanitarian assistance via the ICRC, UNOCHA, UNICEF and others,” he said.

Similar protest actions were planned for Johannesburg, Gqeberha and Windhoek.

TOPICS:  Israel-Palestine

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