November 10, 2015 | Quote

Anti-Israel Activists Hijack Swedish Kristallnacht Event, Fail to Invite Jews

The organizers of a Kristallnacht commemoration in the city of Umeå, Sweden, didn’t invite the local Jewish community because it was expected to be an “unwelcoming or unsafe situation for them” due to the efforts of anti-Israel activists, The Daily Beast reported Monday.

A Facebook page for the event acknowledged that Kristallnacht was when “Nazis stepped up the violence against the Jewish population in Germany.” The page also noted that two years ago, Nazis marched in Umeå for the first time since World War II, and that the commemoration should be seen “as a defense of Umeå as a city of openness towards people with different culture, religion and sexual orientation. As well as support for those forced to flee from war and hopes for a future in Umeå.”

The anti-Israel focus of the commemoration and its exclusion of Jews prompted a number of criticisms.


Benjamin Weinthal, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, reported for The Jerusalem Post that many Kristallnacht commemorations in Germany have been hijacked by “segments of German society that seek to dismantle Israel.”

According to Weinthal, in the city of Munich, an anti-Israel event by activists affiliated with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement was held in a municipal building on Saturday. Even after the head of the Israeli consulate, Dan Shaham, in that city objected, the mayor allowed the event to proceed. Shaham observed, “The racist, anti-Semitic character of this movement, which calls for a boycott of Israel, was again made clear two days before the Kristallnacht remembrance.”

Weinthal offered two possibilities for the contradictory impulses among some Germans to both remember the Holocaust and, at the same time, delegitimize Israel.

For the city of Munich and greater Bavaria – one could argue – the attacks on Israel bleed into Holocaust commemoration as a form of inoculation against charges of anti-Semitism.

Put simply, how can Germans, who advocate BDS, be contaminated with anti-Israel anti-Semitism if they mourn the burning of Synagogues and murder-wave of Jews in 1938? The timing of Munich’s pro-BDS event coinciding with Kristallnacht may or may not be a coincidence.

The other possibility, Weinthal wrote, is ignorance about the nature of BDS.


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