A few weeks ago a group of Israelis living in Berlin gathered in order to protest Against Israeli PM Netanjahu (Bibi). The group gathered, like many other groups of Israelis around the world, to identify with the main protest in Jerusalem.
I support the protest in Jerusalem, but I didn’t join the protest in Berlin out of two reasons. The first reason was that I am an Israeli-German citizen living in Berlin, and as such I am more interested in things that matter to me and happen on the German soil. Many of the protesters here don’t like to pay attention to the horror situation of modern Jewry in Germany. Many of them hide their identity or don’t speak Hebrew on the street. Some of them even dare to claim that we, Jews and Israelis, deserve the violence directed at us because of Israeli politics. They didn’t even think about protesting in front of the Israeli owned bar that was burned down by Nazis last month. They don’t care that German Jews are living under siege, that many Jews stopped complaining because they see the police, the prosecution and the judicial system as part of the problem, not part of the solution. When we will start to protest about the normalcy of our life here, I will go to protests against the politics of Israel.
The second reason I didn’t join the protest was that quite fast I understood that more than the cause, the organizers were craving attention. First they protested in front of the Israel embassy, but it was a bit far. Then the protest moved near the wall and some media covered their acts (not many things are more cozy for German media than Israelis trashing Israel). Then, the protest took another step and decided to join the huge anti-Corona protest in Berlin. What’s the connection between them? none. But there were much more media and people to give the Bibi protesters their needed attention.
Any logical person without an ego trip would have known ahead what would be the content and context of the big rally and who would be the participants. If you didn’t know it ahead, you couldn’t miss it during the rally: the tattoos, the Reich flags, the gestures, the salutes. Nazis in the middle of Berlin walking around with Jewish yellow ribbon to identify themselves with Jewish victim-hood while spitting out anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. No one could have missed the horror that ended up with people trying to burst into the parliament.
The Israelis couldn’t miss it either. At some point the Nazis were heading their way. A protester from Israel shared the pictures from Berlin and claimed that it was a rally against the politicization of the Corona. I tried to correct her, but she wouldn’t listen. Another Israeli Journalist uploaded pictures from London and asked his followers to follow the speech of the anti-Semite David Icke. An Israeli woman living in Berlin claimed that it was a historic day that she would gladly share with her grand kids. She claimed that this was the rally that the German should have taken in 1933 against the Nazis (you do the comparisons alone).
The Israeli protesters had done their job. They got a one-minute item in the news. „I am very happy“, told me one of them a few days later. Now the Nazis were heading their way. It was a three-way junction: go with the Nazis, go against the Nazis or evaporate. Instead of protesting against the Nazis, they start to protest against Bibi and Israel. Sometimes you are just the sum of all the decisions you make.