Tag Archives: racism

2 July 2016: Berlin protests against the “Quds March”, against racism and anti-Semitism

Public execution in Tehran. (Amnesty International Report 2015/2016)

Public execution in Tehran. (Amnesty International Report 2015/2016)

Shortly after the Islamic Revolution, in 1979, Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini designated the so-called Quds Day as a global day of combat mobilising for the annihilation of Israel. Quds is the Arabian name of Jerusalem. In spite of the current “softies“ in power in Tehran, that basic objective has not been cancelled.

In Germany, too, the ”Quds March“ has been staged and supported by anti-Semitic and anti-Israel organisations for decades. Hatred against Jews and Israel has since linked a motley crowd of supporters: islamists, nazis, racists across a broad range including the anti-Zionist left.

Anti-Semitism is a main source of the evil energy powering the Iranian regime, and a determining factor in its policies. Israel is the constant target of its destructive motivation. Time and again, the Iranian government has underlined its aim to eliminate Israel by force. Iran pays for the missiles Hamas rains on Israel. Iran does not hide its intentions either: long range missiles tested in March 2016 showed inscriptions of Israel must be rooted out.

Iranian Quds Brigades are responsible for terrorist attacks around the globe. Tehran’s co-operation with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad und the Lebanese terrorist militia Hizbollah is meant to sustain an “axis of resistance“ against Israel. Critics of the Iranian regime are invariably denounced as “Zionist agents”.

At the same time the mullahs, assisted by their willing executioners, continue repression of their own population. Critics, “infidels“, women, LGBT and national minorities such as the Kurds and the Bahai are relentlessly suppressed, persecuted, detained, tortured, murdered or publicly executed. Under Hassan Rohani, a supposed reformer, more executions than ever have been performed: almost 1000 in 2015, according to Amnesty International. That is the highest number of executions worldwide in relation to a country’s number of inhabitants. In Syria, the Iranian regime shares direct responsibility for the crimes and mass murders perpetrated by their ally Assad. Assad’s war on his fellow Syrians has cost half a million dead and has turned several millions more into refugees. The Syrian dictator is able to cling to power only through the massive presence of Iranian revolutionary guards and Shi’ite militias.

It is nothing but an outright scandal that Germany is still in the forefront of those who do business with the Tehran regime. It is equally a scandal that Sigmar Gabriel, Minister of Economy, has visited Iran for the second time within a year early in May. A government-funded, leading cultural institution in Germany, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, continues to link up with Tehran’s Museum of Contemporary Art, in spite of its calling for a competition of, and awarding a prize to, Holocaust-denying cartoonists. Compromises with Tehran do not change the regime’s ideology or its actual policies. On the contrary, raising sanctions and releasing billions of frozen funds after the signing of the nuclear deal help the regime to proceed on its road towards nuclear armament and go on spreading terror inside and outside the country.

The imminant Quds March is intended to mobilise Tehran’s supporters in Germany. It will highlight the anti-Semitic and generally destructive character of the regime’s action. A demonstration against this blatant display of racism and anti-Semitism in Berlin is planned for 2 July. Its organisers appeal to all Members of the German Parliament, the Berlin Senate, and all democratic organisations of civil society in Germany to support and join the public protest against the Quds March.

We demand:

  • to ban the anti-Semitic Quds March
  • to ban the terror organisation Hisbollah
  • to stop the appeasement policy towards the terrorist Iranian regime
  • solidarity with the Syrian and Iranian democratic opposition
  • solidarity with Israel

The organisers of the demo will not allow any utterances of xenophobia or racism. This text is based on the public appeal made by the Mideast Freedom Forum.

Racism in German sports – the DFB response

The mention of racism can trigger irrational reactions in Germany; most Germans carry the burden of a guilt complex because of the Shoa, which makes the open-minded acknowledgement of the presence of racism in German society difficult. Yet, as in all societies, racism is an everyday phenomenon. This becomes particularly evident in the soccer arenas.

Just the other day, the Bremen state government issued what they call a Development Plan for Participation and Integration, a strategic document on diversity policies. It identifies 14 field of action in which to confront the need for promoting diversity in Bremen’s urban society in the coming four years. There is also a chapter on sports determining this field as one of the main areas for action. The text does not mention racism. Yet, it is well known that German sports are a playground for all known forms and variants of racism. There is structural racism in the shape of discrimination against people with a different cultural background. But there is also common or garden racism in the way people treat each other, as anybody will confirm who has overheard competitors defile and try to intimidate each other using racist swear words, or who has listened to a crowd making “ape noises” when a midfield player with black African roots passes the ball. Likewise, “Zigeuner”, a derogatory term for Sinti and Roma is frequently used by hooligans to infuriate and provoke opponents, notwithstanding the fact that some of the best German soccer players were Sinti (like Gerd Müller, famous Bayern Munich striker).

Only a few weeks ago, a soccer Bundesliga player hailing from Israel, Itay Shechter, was showered with antisemitic abuses by spectators. The board of FC Kaiserslautern, the club in question, has made efforts to spot the culprits and has in fact officially reported the incident to the police. Kaiserslautern chairman Stefan Kuntz declared at a press conference that such “derailments” were not to be tolerated “either now or in future” by the club’s leadership.

Dieter Graumann, presiding the Central Council of Jews in Germany, is quoted as calling the Kaiserslautern incident a shame and scandal for German soccer. He deplored that the national soccer association, DFB, has not come out with a „faster and louder“ reaction on what happened. Although the majority of Kaiserslautern fans displayed their unmistakable support for Itay Shechter, the DFB should have done more than just verbally denouncing the perpetrators as „yesterday people“ (a common euphemism for right-wingers in Germany) or, less politely, „stark staring idiots“.

In defence of the DFB, people have hinted to the fact that the soccer association has been awarding the Julius Hirsch Prize for seven years now. This award commemorates a German national team member of the thirties murdered in Auschwitz.  DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach is adamant in continuing the policy of this predecessor, Theo Zwanziger, ostracizing anti-Semitism, anti-Ciganism, racism, sexism, and homophobia in society as well as on the sportsfield. From its charity matches, the DFB’s national team contributes funds towards a foundation with the explicit aim of promoting efforts to curb racist and sexist phenomena in sports. The team management will also use the occasion of the European Cup in Poland and the Ukraine in summer to pay a visit to the Auschwitz memorial, a spokesman said.

Late in May, the German side will play Israel in what will be the final test game before the European Cup. This has been agreed between Niersbach and Ori Shilo, Secretay General of Israel’s national soccer association. The Germans have made it a point that the game was scheduled away from Sabbath to enable observant Jews to watch it.  Israel has been a member of UEFA since 1994.

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