Ein Gastbeitrag von Shithouser’s United Fanclub, Hamburg 12.10.2023
On the message published by several international FC St. Pauli fan clubs on 10.10.23
One thing upfront: We will not share or discuss our personal opinions on the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict. There are way too many half-informed takes on the internet already. The world doesn’t need another one. Especially not right now.
However, we do not want to leave your “message” uncommented. There’s too much about it that we find deeply troubling and even dangerous. So here are some thoughts.
Of course, the holocaust is a sensitive topic. We do not need (and should not need) a German passport to find the murder of millions of human beings a sensitive topic. It’s not “unfortunate”, but absolutely necessary to take into account the continuities of this terrible unprecedented crime against humanity, especially when we’re talking about Israel and antisemitism.
We feel like we might be stating the obvious here, but maybe it needs to be said (again): the Shoah was rooted in antisemitism, which is not and never was the same as racism.
You criticize people for accusing you of antisemitism then go on to ask “Since when is it racism…”. We feel like you might not be aware, that antisemitism does not equal racism. There are similarities, yes, but there are also important differences.
We believe that to judge whether something (or someone) is antisemitic or not, one would need at least a clear understanding of what the term means and implies.
We oppose all forms of antisemitism, that includes Israel-related antisemitism.
According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism (IHRA definition), “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic”. Or in other words: You can criticize the Government of Israel and its political decisions. Many people in the “German Left” do that. Many Israelis do that as well. You can do that without being antisemitic. Objective criticism is based on facts and refers to a specific action. It isn’t emotionally overcharged or affect-based. Most importantly: Objective criticism should always include a willingness to reconsider your position.
It is however (according to the IHRA definition) antisemitic to “deny the jewish people their right to selfdetermination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor”. It’s also antisemitic to apply “double standards by requiring of it [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”
It’s also antisemitic to draw “comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”
It is antisemitic to imply that Israel equals 75 years of “unjust occupation”.
Maybe you can answer the double standards part in all honesty for yourself. We do not know how much of your time you invest to support other human rights causes apart from the Palestinian. We do not know if you regularly take the time to analyze and criticize other governments for their actions on the same level as you analyze and criticize the government of Israel. We will not go and check.
And yes: We cannot support every cause. We have to choose our battles, but if we only choose one “battle” and it happens to be the one involving the only jewish state in the world, we should at least ask ourselves why that is.
You might not support the IHRA definition and its examples, but then again: Why do we advocate for marginalized voices to be heard but somehow jews don’t count? Why deny one of the most persecuted groups in the world the sovereignty over the interpretation of their discrimination?
We strongly disagree with your assumption that “Hamas is simply the sad result of the policies enforced in the Palestinian land”. It’s just obviously not true. It’s a gross oversimplification and it implies an inevitability that’s simply not given. Resistance is not the same as terror. Terror is not a legitimate form of resistance. Who claims otherwise never really tried to understand the phenomena. Resistance aims at ending an injustice.
It includes a broad spectrum of actions and it can involve violence, but its goal is not to destroy the opponent, not annihilation. That’s terror. And there are resistance movements that operate without terror.
Most of all we are shocked that in the face of pure terror, of murder, rape and torture your first reaction was to say: “Yes, but…” Your first instinct was to use the situation, all the suffering, for your agenda. You claim to advocate for the people in Gaza but you essentially made it about you, about you not feeling heard, about your opinion not being recognized, about you feeling left out. Not one suffering human being is helped by our discussing this on the internet. Not one person with friends and family in Gaza or Israel has time to deal with your “statement” right now.
Nothing justifies terror, nothing justifies torturing and murdering civilians. What happened in Israel just now, what is still happening, is the biggest attack on jewish life since the holocaust, an antisemitic pogrom. Stating that doesn‘t negate the suffering of the palistinian people.
Our understanding of antifascism includes empathy and radical humanism, a struggle for a just world for everyone, for life, not death. Human suffering should never be relativized, but it should also never be instrumentalized. Victims should never be counted against each other. If you cannot show empathy without promptly adding “yes, but”, if you feel like you need to “pick a side”, propaganda won. We believe that true empathy needs a tolerance for ambiguity.
One last thing: We honestly don‘t get the whole “pressure on the leadership” thing. Who are those leaders that you believe are being bullied into making statements they don’t support? If this accusation isn’t based on facts and specific examples, it’s a conspiracy theory.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Israel and all Jews worldwide threatened by hate and violence – not just today, but every day.
Fanclub Shithouser’s United
Whoever agrees with us is welcome to sign as well. Contact us via email@example.com
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