NAfter the scandal over anti-Semitic statements at the Berlinale, Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann threatened criminal consequences. The FDP politician told the newspapers of the Funke media group that criminal law is well positioned to punish anti-Semitic statements. The use of the slogan “Free Palestine – From the River to the Sea” could be understood as an endorsement of the killings committed in Israel as part of the Hamas attacks in October 2023.

“Rewarding and endorsing crimes is a criminal offense,” emphasized the minister. Anyone who spreads propaganda from unconstitutional and terrorist organizations or uses the symbols of unconstitutional and terrorist organizations such as Hamas is also committing a criminal offense. “The Berlinale suffered serious damage this weekend because anti-Semitism went far too unchallenged,” explained Buschmann. The criminal assessment of the incidents is the responsibility of the responsible law enforcement authorities and courts. But the political verdict is clear to him: “Anti-Semitism is intolerable.”

During the Berlinale Gala on Saturday evening, the Middle East conflict was discussed several times. Numerous jury members and award winners called for a ceasefire in the Gaza war verbally or with badges. In an acceptance speech for an award there was talk of a genocide, a genocide. The statements were subsequently met with criticism and outrage from politicians and associations.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz distanced himself from the accusation of genocide. “For the Chancellor, I can say that he shares that such a one-sided positioning cannot be allowed to stand,” said deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann in Berlin. The starting point for the escalation of the conflict was the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7th.

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