In an ideal world, people should be safe everywhere. In a real world, they should also have "common sense". A commentary.
The term "no-go area" originally referred to a restricted military area. Today it stands for a neighborhood or district where the safety of people cannot be guaranteed. From a no-go area, the state has retreated. It abdicates its monopoly on violence and tolerates forces it cannot or will not control.
On Hermannplatz in Berlin’s Neukolln district, demonstrators on 15. May various Palestinian organizations against Israel. It was "Nakba Day," which traditionally commemorates the flight and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Arab Palestinians from the former British mandate territory of Palestine.
[A response to this text by Malte Lehming can be read by Anna Sauerbrey: May Jews be advised not to wear a Star of David on "Nakba"??]
The word "Nakba" means "catastrophe" or "disaster". The atmosphere was further inflamed by Hamas’ hail of rockets at Israel and the Israeli response to this.
"That is deeply anti-Semitic"
Three young Berliners got caught up in the demonstration, two of them wore a Star of David as a necklace around their necks. They documented the slogans and placards, were surrounded and insulted, one was physically attacked.
Police took the group to safety, recorded their reports. One of the young people commented on the advice to refrain from using Jewish symbols in future demonstrations by Palestinians on the "Day of the Nakba" as follows: "Wearing a Star of David as a provocation? This is deeply anti-Semitic."
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In an ideal world, people should be safe everywhere. You should not have to be afraid. They should be allowed to publicly profess their religion. They should be peaceful and non-violent, live and let live, listen and hear.
Lawful and commanded are not always congruent
In a real world people should stand up and fight for the values of the ideal world. But they should also have "common sense", awareness of reality. They should be able to evaluate and understand a situation. should be able to distinguish between permissible and wise actions. The lawful and the commanded are not always congruent.
Who feels provoked by what? Important here: The victim always remains a victim, is never even complicit in the acts of the perpetrators. But maybe it wouldn’t be a good idea to go to a Reichsburger event in an Antifa T-shirt. Or to set up an AfD stand directly in front of the squatted house in Rigaer Strabe. Or on "Republic Day", the Turkish national holiday "Cumhuriyet Bayrami", to mingle with Erdogan supporters with a large likeness of the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.
In a bikini through Mea Shearim?
And who in the Middle East would think of walking on Yom Kippur in a bikini through the Jerusalem district of Mea Shearim, which is predominantly inhabited by ultra-Orthodox Jews?? Or approaching the Israeli settlement of Bet El with a Palestine flag, which is a stronghold of the "Gush Emunim," the "Bloc of the Faithful," whose supporters are fanatical Greater Israel zealots?
Likewise, it is not recommended for an Israeli with a kippah to want to have a picnic in the city of Nablus in the West Bank in peace and quiet, completely unarmed.
These are examples from a real world – they show the gap to the ideal, desired world.
Of course, Jews in Berlin must not only be safe, but also feel safe. Whoever insults or even attacks them must be punished. That doesn’t mean, however, that any debate about wise situational behavior is superfluous.
A supplement (written on 2. July 2021):
This column gave rise to criticism, questions and misunderstandings. For this I ask for apology. I write, clearly and distinctly: "Of course, Jews in Berlin must not only be safe, but also feel safe. Whoever insults or even attacks them must be punished."I also write: "The victim always remains a victim, is never even complicit in the actions of the perpetrators."I emphasize that people in the real world should stand up and fight for the values of the ideal world, that is, against anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, homophobia. Because "people should not have to be afraid. They should be allowed to publicly profess their religion. They should be peaceful and non-violent, live and let live, hear and listen."
The column focuses on the behavior of a police officer. What is the situation on this day, the 15. May, "Day of the Nakba."? My description is based on media reports. It is well known that there are regular riots on this day in many European cities, including Berlin. This year the atmosphere is additionally extremely tense due to the situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip. Four demonstrations are registered in Berlin-Neukolln, three are largely peaceful. But one of them got completely out of hand and had to be stopped right after it started. It runs from Hermannplatz to the Neukolln City Hall. Many participants are aggressive and brutal, chanting anti-Semitic slogans. In a street battle lasting several hours, 93 police officers were injured by firecrackers, bottles, stones and direct physical violence.
Against this backdrop, the three Berliners, two of whom were wearing a Star of David necklace, accidentally get caught up in the demonstration. They document the slogans and posters. What happens next is in the column. The three are attacked, the police take them to safety, record their charges. Now comes the decisive moment: One of the policemen advises the attacked to refrain from wearing Jewish symbols at the next "Day of the Nakba" demonstration. For this the policeman is heavily criticized.
I understand that police officers should do their job and protect human lives. That’s what they are paid for. Nevertheless, I may not unreservedly agree with the criticism of the policeman’s behavior. I assume in his favor that he is not an anti-Semite, but wanted his request to be understood as a contribution to de-escalation. It will continue to perform its service and protect all people from violence. There I am sure.
More on the subject
Riots at pro-Palestinian demos District councillors in Berlin-Neukolln majority condemned anti-Semitism
Does this policeman also deserve empathy? I wanted to explore this question in my column. Nothing more.