German court allows labeling Jewish anti-Zionist activist as antisemite

A Munich court overturned a prior decision that barred a prominent Jewish leader from terming one Hamas-affiliated BDS activist an antisemite.

January 19, 2018 23:19
3 minute read.

BDS. (photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)


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A Munich court ruled in favor of the Bavarian capital’s Jewish community president Charlotte Knobloch on Friday, saying she can term an anti-Zionist Jew’s activity as antisemitic because he encouraged violence toward the Jewish people.

The legal defeat for one of Germany’s leading anti-Zionists and Israel boycott activists, Abraham Melzer, reverses a November lower Munich court decision that barred Knobloch – a Holocaust survivor – from repeating her statement that Melzer is “notorious for his antisemitic remarks.”

Knobloch’s attorney, Nathan Gelbart, told The Jerusalem Post that “it belongs to our free, democratic system to be allowed to call phenomena like Melzer what they are: antisemites.”

The Munich court wrote in a statement that Melzer’s talk at the Hamas-affiliated “Palestinians in Europe Conference” in Berlin in 2015 “justified the call to kill, or damage, Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist religious view, and expressed an extreme hostile conviction toward Jews and the Jewish people.”

The court said Melzer’s “behavior can and may, without question, be judged as antisemitic.”

Melzer, who spent time in Israel as a young man, defended at the pro-Palestinian conference the anti-Jewish slogans voiced at demonstrations in Germany against the IDF’s 2014 Protective Edge campaign to stop Hamas rocket fire into Israel.

The anti-Israel activist claimed at the conference that the following slogan chanted at a Berlin rally against Israel was not anti-Jewish: “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come on out and fight on your own.”

The BDS activist Melzer also defended the slogans “F***ing Jews! We’ll get you!” and “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!” He claimed the slogans were not “hostile to Jews.”

The court noted that Melzer said at the conference that the antisemitic slogans were “rather, at worst, anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and an expression of anger and rage and desperation in light of the mass murder of friends and cousins in Gaza.”

He further said at the Hamas-affiliated conference that the calls at anti-Israel protests encouraging violence targeting Jews are a “completely understandable reaction, for which there must be no apology in light of more than 2,100 dead and many thousands of injured and tens of thousands of homeless and thousands of destroyed houses” in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

The EU and US classify Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Knobloch wrote in an email to Catholic Bavarian organizations in September 2016 that Melzer spreads antisemitic statements. A series of BDS events featuring Melzer in Munich were canceled during the period of Knobloch’s protest email.He sued Knobloch because of the antisemitism allegation.

After the Post reported in 2016 that Commerzbank – Germany’s second-largest financial institution – held an account for Melzer, the bank terminated his account. The closure may be related to Melzer’s antisemitic activity and connection with supporters of Hamas.

Melzer wrote the Post by email that “the legal decision is not valid.”

Melzer frequently compares the Jewish state with the Hitler movement. He used the Nazi term “blockwarte” to describe Israel’s Foreign Ministry. Blockwarte were low-level Nazi functionaries who served as contacts for Germans who wished to denounce Jews and political dissenters.

KNOBLOCH, a former president of the more-than-100,000-member Central Council of Jews in Germany, secured a second legal victory on Friday. The court ruled that Melzer is barred from repeating his statement that Knobloch is “notorious for her racist statements.”

Melzer had accused her of racism. Knobloch sued Melzer and prevailed. If Melzer repeats his allegation against Knobloch, he could face a €250,000 fine.

A Frankfurt court ruled in 2007 that Melzer and the late anti-Zionist Jew Hajo Meyer can be called “experts on applied Judeophobia.” The Frankfurt court decision is believed to be the first legal verdict in the history of the German judiciary in which a court recognized the phenomenon of Jews relying on antisemitic and anti-Zionist statements and material to rage against Jews and Israel.

Melzer filed a lawsuit against Henryk Broder – one of Europe’s leading experts on modern antisemitism – who had written a blog article titled “Holo with Hajo: How two Jews did the Adolf in Leipzig,” satirizing publisher Abraham Melzer and author Hajo Meyer.

Broder said at the time, “There are nurses who kill their patients, attorneys who commit insurance fraud. Why can there not therefore be Jews who are antisemites?”

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