Germany is going too far in its zeal against pro-Palestinian voices. This authoritarian course is dangerous for others too.

Palestinian protesters in Berlin.

Demonstration after the cancellation of the Palestinian Congress in Berlin Photo: Fabián Sommer / dpa

The protection of Jewish life is part of the reason of state in Germany. But does this protection also apply to Jews who are more critical of Israeli policy than the federal government? There are reasons to doubt this. The withdrawal of the invitation to the philosopher Nancy Fraeser, the treatment given to Masha Gessen and Judith Butler and the dissolution of a “Palestinian Congress” organized, among others, by a small Jewish group, all this shows what the Sunday speeches say about The protection of Jewish life in Germany pays off when it comes to joining forces with Israel and its partly far-right government: the other side of reason of state.

In Germany there has always been resentment against “American liberal intellectuals.” It seems that this resentment has found new expression in the name of the fight against anti-Semitism. Only in this way can one understand the zeal with which entire schools of thought are denounced along with the accusation of lack of identification with the State of Israel.

But German McCarthyism is directed against all those who do not share the German reasons of state regarding Israel. Not only are standards of decency ignored and laws tightened, but the limits of the rule of law are also affected when bans on entry, assembly and activity are apparently imposed arbitrarily, as has now happened in the “Palestinian Congress.” ” in Berlin, which was prevented. For the police. Precisely, the anti-Semitism commissioner wants the nonprofit status of the left-wing association “Jewish Voice for a Just Peace” to be revoked, because he rejects its solidarity with Palestine.

Constitutional liberals are missing

It is not surprising that the conservative media applauds this authoritarian course. But even liberal media like Time accept it with a shrug. Old-style constitutional liberals are missing from politics and the media, such as the FDP politician Gerhart Baum, who as Minister of the Interior kept a cool head even after the “German autumn” of 1977. As a reminder: at that time , a series of attacks and plane hijackings shocked the country. Nowadays, all it takes is a few pro-Palestinian demonstrations or questionable statements about Israel for half the country to fall into a moral panic and politicians to overreact.

Some welcome the tough approach because they believe it affects the right people. Others claim that all this is completely normal: there is nothing to see, just move on! But if this authoritarian course is broken, it will soon also be directed against other groups that contradict the government: climate activists, refugee workers and others. And this government will not always be a traffic light government.

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