Point-blank: Germany’s perverse raison d’état

Mohamed Salmawy
Friday 3 May 2024

What is Germany doing to itself?


The country that perpetrated one of the most horrific massacres, if not the most horrific massacre in modern history – the Holocaust – is today actively collaborating in the perpetuation of a similar crime in Gaza committed by Israel.

It also appears determined to stifle those voices opposed to genocide and other crimes against humanity there. When a group of anti-war activists convened a congress in Berlin to call for a durable ceasefire and peace, the German police raided the conference, interrupted the speakers, and arrested participants.  The German authorities banned some speakers from entering the country and even warned them against sending the texts of their presentations electronically.

What precisely is the message that German authorities want to convey?

Is this an affirmation that Nazi racial policies are still alive and that the German state continues to support genocide even if the victims are now Palestinians instead of Jews?

I am not just talking here about the enormous German military and moral support that facilitates Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine, although that support, alone, would probably be sufficient for Berlin to be found guilty of complicity in the atrocities Israel is perpetrating especially given that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has found it plausible that genocide is exactly what is unfolding in Gaza.

I am also talking about the zeal with which the German authorities are muzzling voices demanding a ceasefire, an end to the illegal occupation, and granting the Palestinians their inalienable rights to freedom and self-determination. These rights are enshrined in all international human rights laws and conventions.

Yet, when it comes to calls to apply them to the Palestinians, the German authorities would rather suppress people’s freedoms of opinion, expression, and assembly.

Imagine how German authorities would have reacted if the subject of the congress had been to support Israel’s right to defend itself against Palestinian “terrorism,” regardless of the spuriousness of the claim. Would the German police have raided the premises and arrested the participants?

 Germany, the first European country to ban demonstrations in support of the Palestinian people and their rights, has been brought before the ICJ for committing the first genocide of the twentieth century. That was the ethnic cleansing of the Herero and Nama in Namibia in 1904-1908.

The Holocaust came several decades later. With Germany’s current support for the immense carnage in Gaza in this century, one might conclude that genocide is a fixed, time-resistant German policy.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 2 May, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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