Josef Schuster: President of the Central Council expresses concern about university protests

Josef Schuster: President of the Central Council expresses concern about university protests

At many US universities, pro-Palestinian protests have sometimes turned violent. There was also a demonstration in front of the Humboldt University in Berlin. The President of the Central Council of Jews warns.

After a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel protest at Humboldt University in Berlin, the president of the Central Council of Jews warned of conditions similar to those at US universities. “My biggest concern is that the conditions we see in the USA will also appear in Germany, as many groups are internationally networked,” said Josef Schuster, according to the statement. “We could already see the first signs of this at the HU Berlin.” On Friday, around 150 people demonstrated near the university.

Jewish students do not feel safe

Jewish students have been heavily affected by anti-Semitism for many months, which has caused an “extreme feeling of insecurity” among them. “We are in close contact with politicians and the University Rectors’ Conference in order to promote structural changes at universities that can provide effective protection against hatred and incitement against Jews and Israel on campus.”

Education is the key here: “Currently, there is often a lack of recognizing and dealing with anti-Semitic activities among students and teachers, as well as usually the right instruments to take action against the drivers of this development.” A limit has already been crossed when the destruction of the State of Israel is called for. Schuster called for criminal law to be tightened.

At the beginning of February, the Jewish student Lahav Shapira was beaten in Berlin in a suspected anti-Semitic attack and was hospitalized with broken bones.

Pro-Palestinian demonstration at Humboldt University

The police opened 37 investigations into the protest on Friday. The police announced on Saturday that these include possible cases of sedition and resistance to law enforcement officers. During the operation, 38 people – 24 women and 14 men – had their freedom restricted. There were no reports of any injuries on Saturday.

According to the police, around 150 people came together for the unregistered rally – two groups demonstrated. The protesters demanded a lecture hall as a rally location, which the university management did not grant. In the meantime, the meeting was registered, but this was then withdrawn. The police banned anti-Semitic statements. According to the police, the protesters repeatedly shouted the anti-Semitic slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which can be understood as a call for the destruction of Israel, the expulsion and extermination of the Jewish population.

Humboldt University wants multi-perspective dialogue

The President of the HU, Julia von Blumenthal, told the German Press Agency that she had made it clear to the protesters that the university was a place for controversial discussions that were conducted on the basis of fundamental values. “This includes no room for anti-Semitism, no room for racism and no room for any other form of discrimination.” There was a demand to break off contacts with Israel, “something that is completely out of the question for me.”

She has offered to discuss the topic at an event in the coming weeks. But there was a core group that decided to shout loudly. Your offer is still available to students at Humboldt University.

In a discussion, a broad range of positions would be important to her, said von Blumenthal. “There are different Jewish voices, there are different Palestinian voices, there are also academic positions.” In some cases, there are also local demands that do not concern the university, such as the recognition of the state of Palestine and an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Sometimes violent riots at US universities

In the USA, groups at numerous universities are currently demonstrating for solidarity with Palestinians, but also for cutting ties with Israel. Critics particularly accuse the radical part of the protest movement of anti-Semitism and trivializing the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas, which denies Israel the right to exist and carried out massacres in Israel on October 7th.

Source: Stern

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