German Jewish students urge Munich university to cancel BDS talk

The event is titled “Israel, Palestine and the limits of what is sayable.”

November 3, 2018 21:45
2 minute read.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich, Germany, 2016.

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich, Germany, 2016.. (photo credit: REUTERS/MICHAELA REHLE)


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The association of Jewish students in the German southern state of Bavaria urged the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich to cancel a slated Wednesday pro-boycott Israel event with a hardcore anti-Jewish state activist. The association, along with other groups that combat antisemitism, wrote that “it is to be expected that positions of the antisemitic BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] campaign will be uncritically propagated. We, therefore, call for the event to be canceled.”

The event is titled “Israel, Palestine and the limits of what is sayable.” Two days after the planned anti-Israel event, Germany will commemorate the wave of pogroms against German Jews that unfolded in Kristallnacht.

The German Jewish organizations and pro-Israel groups accused the speaker of the planned BDS event, left-wing journalist Andreas Zumach, of spreading a “Jewish conspiracy” in a previous lecture. Zumach, who writes for the leftist taz, a publication that has been engulfed in alleged antisemitic scandals over the years, said there is an “organized Israeli government lobby.”

Zumach has claimed the 85-year-old Holocaust survivor and head of the Munich Jewish community, Charlotte Knobloch, and “a Jerusalem Post correspondent who functions as a Mossad agent,” systematically suppresses “legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies,” as well as criticism of the settlements.

Zumach appears to have meant the Post reporter of this article whom he called “Bernhard Weintraub” in his talk.

Zumach is an advisory member of a Germany-based pro-BDS organization targeting the Jewish state. Zumach, according to the Bavarian Jewish student group, has appeared at pro-BDS events. He did not immediately respond to a Post press query.

The city of Munich deems BDS as antisemitic and bars public space and funds for BDS events. The Jewish Student Society of Bavaria, Yonatan Shay, the represenative of the Jewish Agency for  Israel in Munich, Youth Forum of the German-Israel Friendship Society in Munich, Honestly Concerned, I like Israel, Zionist Organization of Munich, and the European Janusz Korczak Academy addressed their public letter to Bernd Huber, the president of Ludwig Maximilian University.

A spokesperson for the university wrote on Friday that “whether this event takes place is still being investigated.”

The organization, Left Alliance Against Antisemitism, urged students at the university to take a position against the BDS event and show “solidarity with all Jews against antisemitism.”

In May, intelligence officials of the German state of Baden-Württemberg wrote that propaganda from the neo-Nazi party Der Dritte Weg (The Third Way) calling to boycott Israeli products “roughly recalls similar measures against German Jews by the National Socialists, for example, on April 1, 1933 (the slogan: ‘Germans! Defend yourselves! Don’t buy from Jews!’)”

Two additional intelligence reports, from the city-state of Berlin and the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, arrived at the same conclusion.

“The Third Way’s slogan ‘Boycott Products from Israel’... betray significant parallels to the anti-Jewish agitation of the National Socialists,” the Rhineland-Palatinate agency wrote.

During the time of National Socialists, the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich dismissed Jewish professors and the Nazi-controlled German student association played a central role in burning undesirable books in Munich.

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