Solidarity with Israel – against hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism
ASF statement on the terrorist attacks on Israel, anti-Semitic agitation against Jewish life in Germany and concrete solidarity.
We are shocked by the incredible wave of terrorist violence that the people of Israel have been subjected to since 7th October. In a cruelty that defies comprehension, Hamas killed more than a thousand people in Israel, kidnapped civilians and soldiers, raged with extreme brutality, committed sexual violence and tortured children, the elderly and the defenseless. The terrorist attacks were aimed at Jews, the State of Israel, its democratic values and the coexistence of different cultures and religions in the country. Action Reconciliation Service for Peace condemns these attacks and stands in full solidarity with Israel. Hamas’ terror must not be relativised or justified.
Many friends and partners in Israel are affected by the terrorist violence. People close to us have lost relatives or are worried about those who have been kidnapped. Former volunteers have connections to Kibbutz Be’eri and Kfar Aza. Unbelievable massacres took place in both places.
The rocket attacks by Hamas from the Gaza Strip continue, and there are also repeated attacks by Hezbollah in northern Israel. In almost all regions of Israel, sirens sound several times a day, people must seek shelter and are frightened.
Our 21 volunteers only arrived at their placements in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Nahariya, Afula, Haifa and Herzliya at the end of September. They were not affected by Hamas’ immediate violent excesses near the Gaza Strip. But they experienced the constant sirens which accompanied the massive missile attacks. Many of their neighbours, as well as the employees and clients of their placement organisations, are directly affected by terror.
After a state of war was declared in Israel, ARSP, in consultation with the volunteers and the partner organisations, decided that all volunteers would interrupt their service in Israel. The volunteers have been in Germany since October 13th. We are united in the hope that the violence and threats to the people of Israel will soon come to an end and that a situation will arise in which sending volunteers is possible again.
The terrorist attacks have massive consequences for Jews in Israel and around the world. It is the largest attack against Jews since the Shoah. The State of Israel, which is supposed to provide protection and refuge for Jews, has had its very existence attacked.
In many countries we are once again experiencing a massive increase in hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism. At rallies, the terrorist attacks are cheered on by Hamas sympathisers; recently, demonstrators in front of the German Foreign Office chanted “Free Palestine – from German guilt.” Islamists join forces with Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites from mainstream society.
Jewish life is under massive threat in many places. In Berlin, houses were marked with Stars of David, and Jewish institutions are being attacked worldwide. Jewish schools, kindergartens and sports clubs are reducing their activities for security reasons. ARSP resolutely opposes any form of hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism.
It is also important to hear and strengthen the Palestinian and Muslim voices that speak out against anti-Semitism and the terror of Hamas, and for democracy and diversity. We urge you to be careful in not placing Muslims and Palestinians under blanket suspician, and to clearly contradict anti-Muslim racism.
We know, and it pains us, that people on the Palestinian side are also suffering, injured and killed to a great extent. Responsibility for Israel’s current violence and military self-defense lies with Hamas. It is naive and cynical to describe this terror as resistance; it is directed against the existence of Israel and at the same time against the freedom, democracy and self-determination of the Palestinians.
We advocate that people in Israel can live in safety and that the defense of Israel does not have to lead to a humanitarian catastrophe for the Palestinians.
In our contexts, we continue to work to ensure that the threat to which Israel and Jews are exposed worldwide is not relativised or justified, but rather is repeatedly and unequivocally and decisively addressed.
Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste has been active in Israel since 1961. Volunteers, apprentices and participants in encounter programs accompany survivors of the Shoah, support people with disabilities and work in memorial sites and institutes for sensitive remembrance and against anti-Semitism. ASF operates the Beit Ben Yehuda, an educational and encounter center in Jerusalem.