Israeli official threatens German activists: ‘We know who you are’

After an Israeli flag was burned at a Berlin protest, the head of international relations for Israel’s Ministry of Intelligence Services says Germany’s pro-Palestine activists must ‘live in fear.’

By Inna Michaeli

A demonstrator shows a banner during a protest in front of the US Embassy against the US President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the new capital of Israel, Berlin, Germany, December 8, 2017. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)
A demonstrator shows a banner during a protest in front of the US Embassy against the US President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the new capital of Israel, Berlin, Germany, December 8, 2017. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

In the Ministry of Intelligence Services there is one person responsible for international relations. That same person is also currently threatening the citizens of Germany.

On December 15, Arye Sharuz Shalicar published a status on his personal Facebook page, in which he shared a report from the German newspaper Welt on Israeli security forces using live fire to disperse a protest on the outskirts of Ramallah.

The protests in Palestine, against Trump’s declaration to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, were accompanied by demonstrations across the world, including in Germany.

Sharuz Shalicar’s status included a message for the protesters:

“PLEASE SHARE! The message of this article goes out to all those in Germany, who think they can burn a Star of David in public without punishment. WE know WHO you are, WHERE you are, and HOW to bring YOU to justice. Live in fear!”

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In the eyes of the Ministry of Intelligence Services, it isn’t enough that Israeli citizens live in fear — now it wants to rain terror on citizens of the entire world. Thus, it seems we have reached a point in which the representative of a government ministry is threatening the residents of a foreign country — who are exercising their democratic right to protest — while linking to an article on the Israeli army’s use of live fire against an occupied people.

In the past few days, German media outlets have been flooded with reports and analyses on the burning of an Israeli flag during a demonstration in Berlin. In response, politicians from centrist parties, as well as the Central Council of Jews in Germany, have called to outlaw flag burning.

Not only a Jewish symbol

The reports are full of distortions, which present the demonstrations against the Israeli occupation — and in this case against Trump’s provocations in Jerusalem — as anti-Semitism. This creates a closed circle: appropriating the Jewish community and its symbols in the service of the occupation helps paint Palestinian protest as anti-Semitic.

This has come up, for example, in the rhetoric surrounding the “burning of the Star of David.” Photos from the protest clearly show an Israeli flag being burned, which the Ministry of Intelligence Services surely knows how to recognize. This is not merely a Jewish symbol, but a national flag that has turned into a symbol of occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. Why should people refrain from burning a symbol of their own oppression?

Palestinians burn an Israeli flag during a protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Gaza City, Gaza Strip, December 7, 2017. (Ezz Zanoun/Activestills.org)
Palestinians burn an Israeli flag during a protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Gaza City, Gaza Strip, December 7, 2017. (Ezz Zanoun/Activestills.org)

Jewish Antifa Berlin has suggested its own way of celebrating Hanukkah. The group published a photo of a Menorah with various national flags in place of candles, accompanied by the following text: “On our Chanukia, instead of candles, there are now the symbols of human bondage — the national flags of repressive regimes from all over the world, which, in their own unique ways, are responsible for global misery. Their sacralization is the modern form of idolatry.”

In response, Arye Sharuz Shalicar offered the following explanation:

This is my private page. I was born and raised in Germany and have faced hundreds of anti-Semitic attacks from young Muslims. It is inconceivable that they threaten Jews and burn Jewish/Israeli symbols. It hurts me personally and I am no longer willing to tolerate it.

I must also add that I had and continue to have Muslim friends in Germany who are also tired of it, since the violent behavior of a few thousands gives the average German the feeling that every person with a Middle Eastern/Arab/Muslim background is a radical, which is entirely untrue, and this only strengthens the radical right.

Inna Michaeli is a feminist activist, who recently defended her doctoral dissertation at the Humboldt University of Berlin, and a blogger at Local Call, where this piece was first published in Hebrew. Read it here.