Black Lives Matter rallies, Berlin and Heerlen


This video from Germany says about itself:

Ruptly is live from a Black Lives Matter protest in Berlin on Saturday, June 27, following weeks of demonstrations around the world against police brutality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Floyd’s death sparked a wave of worldwide protests. On Saturday, June 6, an estimated 15,000 protesters attended an anti-racism demonstration in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz.

There was a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Heerlen, Limburg province, the Netherlands, 27 June 2020. A report says many people came, spatially distanced as a COVID-19 precaution.

On 20 June 2020, there had been a smaller Black Lives Matter rally in Heerlen. These two videos show it.

Anti-racist demonstrations in Berlin, Heerlen today


Black Lives Matter mural in Heerlen, the Netherlands, photo BLM Parkstad

This photo shows a Black Lives Matter mural in Heerlen, Limburg province, the Netherlands, made by local artists.

On 20 June 2020, there was an anti-racist demonstration in Heerlen, photos here.

Today, Black Lives Matter in Heerlen organises another protest. 17.00 – 19.00. Burgemeester van Grunsvenplein square.

This 20 June 2020 video from Germany says about itself:

How does Black Lives Matter resonate in Berlin? | On The Ground

America’s Black Lives Matter protests have sparked sister demonstrations all over the world. On the ground in Berlin, we spoke to protestors about their experiences of racism in German society, and the work that needs to be done there and across the globe.

Translated from the Berliner Zeitung in Germany today:

Thousands of people want to demonstrate again against racism in Berlin on Saturday (12.30 p.m.). More than 8,000 people registered for the rally at the Großer Stern with the motto “Black Lives Matter” by Friday afternoon, another 20,000 were “interested”, reports the dpa news agency. At the beginning of June, 15,000 people gathered on the Alexanderplatz square because of the killing in the United States of African American George Floyd by a police officer. …

Participants are invited to comply with the coronavirus distance rules.

Ex-president Hindenburg no longer Berlin honorary citizen


Paul von Hindenburg and Adolf Hitler in 1933, AFP photo

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Seventy years after the end of the Second World War, the German former president Paul von Hindenburg lost his honorary citizenship of Berlin. Hindenburg became president in the Weimar Republic in 1925 (he was then 77) and would remain so until his death in 1934.

He is no longer an honorary citizen of the capital, because in January 1933 he was politically responsible for the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor. …

Hindenburg, who was of Prussian nobility and a hero of various wars, hoped, like other German conservatives, that Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor offered the possibility of using the Nazi leader for their own purposes. Hitler’s anti-Semitic and racist ideas and his expansive foreign plans were already well known when he became Chancellor.

Get rid of

But after his appointment, Hitler managed to gain all power. He put the parliament out of action and became president after the death of Hindenburg. He had political opponents, also within his own party, removed with violence.

Both Hindenburg and Hitler were named honorary citizens of Berlin on April 20, 1933 – Hitler’s birthday, but Hitler was denied that status in 1948.

The left-wing coalition that now controls Berlin removes Hindenburg from the list not only because of Hitler’s appointment, but also because he agreed to restrict various freedoms. He also encouraged Hitler’s takeover of power by giving him more and more special powers.

German TV on hospital in Hitler age


This 26 June 2019 video is called NETFLIX – CHARITÉ AT WAR series Review – NON spoilers,

By Joanne Laurier:

Charité at War: A chilling portrayal of Nazism and its crimes

11 July 2019

All over the world, ruling elites are responding to the heightening of social tensions and widespread opposition to poverty and war by lurching to the right, resorting to police-state methods and reviving the ideological and political filth of the 20th century. In Germany, neo-Nazi activity has become a major political danger.

One of the indispensable duties of artists today is to depict realistically what Nazism was and what it meant for masses of people. Leon Trotsky once commented, “The sole feature of fascism which is not counterfeit is its will to power, subjugation, and plunder. Fascism is a chemically pure distillation of the culture of imperialism.”

In its own way, Charité at War, a powerful German television drama currently available on Netflix, gives life to Trotsky’s proposition. The series is set in the years 1943 to 1945 at Berlin’s Charité hospital, one of the most prominent in Europe. Created by Dorothee Schön, directed by Anno Saul and co-written by Schön and Sabine Thor-Wiedemann, the six episodes actually make up the second season of a series devoted to the institution—the first takes place in 1888 and following years.

Inevitably, central to Charité at War’s storyline is the crushing impact of the Nazi regime on every aspect of life and the degree to which the various doctors, nurses, staff and family members, a mix of historical and fictional figures, offer either resistance or support to the Hitler dictatorship and its policies.

“How does the Hippocratic Oath square with an oath to the Führer?,” asks one of the characters rhetorically. Viewed by millions in Germany, Charité at War is a forthright and chilling appraisal of the fascist poison that seeped into every fiber of German society. It is clearly directed against the contemporary rise of neo-Nazi and far-right elements.

Certain characters and strands of the complex plot stand out. One of the leading doctors at the Charité is Ferdinand Sauerbruch (Ulrich Noethen), a surgeon, an innovator in surgical procedures and prosthetics, who has been at the hospital since 1928. (“I defended [Albert] Einstein, the most hated scientist in the Third Reich.”) Sauerbruch is a German nationalist and a conservative, but he criticizes the Nazis and their dictates.

In the series, Sauerbruch’s chief adversary is Max de Crinis (Lukas Miko), a psychiatrist, high-ranking SS member and medical expert for the Aktion T4, a mass murder program of involuntary euthanasia. As many as 300,000 mentally ill and physically handicapped people were killed under this Nazi program in Germany and Austria, occupied Poland and Czechoslovakia. In his Mein Kampf (1924), Adolf Hitler had claimed that racial hygiene would “appear as a deed greater than the most victorious wars of our present bourgeois era.” (Both Sauerbruch and de Crinis were historical figures.)

Anni Waldhausen (Mala Emde), one of de Crinis’s most promising PhD students, is married to Artur (Artjom Gilz), a pediatrician who, unbeknownst to his wife, is testing out medications on disabled children considered disposable by the Nazis.

The duplicitous Artur’s reactionary predilections surface in a lecture he delivers to nurses about being the guardians of genetic material: “Our goal is to increase fertility for good gene holders and to prevent unwanted genetic illnesses.”

Artur describes his work, according to the precepts of Nazi “racial purity” theory, as research into the “sterilization of genetically unsuitable subjects. The genetic value of a person is determined by the tribe and not their looks or health condition. Your information regarding genetic diseases and anti-social elements is the foundation of our tribal registration in determining if the parents of disabled children should be sterilized.”

In a horrible twist of fate, Anni delivers a child, Karin, with hydrocephalus, or water on the brain, making the infant a potential victim of the euthanasia program. In the maternity ward, Anni shares a room with Magda Goebbels (Katharina Heyer)—wife of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister—who is suicidal because of a recent miscarriage.

When surreptitious efforts to cure Karin fail, Artur takes action behind Anni’s back. Some of the most tension-filled moments concern Karin’s destiny.

Anni’s life is further complicated by the fact that her anti-Nazi brother, Dr. Otto Marquardt (Jannik Schümann), is gay and recently returned from the frontline. He and his lover, nurse Martin Schelling (Jacob Matschenz), must avoid the prying and spying eyes of the vindictive Nazi collaborator, Nurse Christel (Frida-Lovisa Hamann), who is committed to Germany’s “ultimate victory”.

Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code made homosexual acts between men illegal. The Hitler regime broadened the provision, in the name of defending the “moral health” of the Volk, the German people. Nazi persecution included the conviction of some 42,000 homosexuals. Ten thousand gay men were sent to concentration camps, 60 percent of whom did not survive.

One of the most admirable anti-Nazi figures in Charité at War is Adolphe Jung (Hans Löw), a French physician (and another real historical figure) forcibly transferred from Occupied France by the German authorities to the Charité. In Episode 2, he informs Sauerbruch that famed German writer Thomas Mann, in a radio broadcast, has revealed that there are deliberate killings at the Charité: “In German hospitals,” says Mann, “they put the seriously injured together with the old, frail and mentally ill in order to kill them with nerve gas. … The regime tells us it’s a Christian crusade against the Bolsheviks. It is nothing but genocide and mass murder.”

Sauerbruch is skeptical that such horrors could possibly be taking place in his hospital. His physician wife and staunchest defender Margot (Luise Wolfram) tells Jung: “My husband is neither a Nazi nor in the party. He is a doctor not a politician.” To which Jung replies firmly: “In these times everything is political.”

Margot and Sauerbruch attempt to shield opposition figure Hans von Dohnányi (Max von Pufendorf) from the perfidious de Crinis and the Gestapo, into whose clutches he will eventually fall, resulting in his being sent to a concentration camp and murdered.

In 1945, the end of the Hitler regime draws near. There are more and more air raids as the Soviet army approaches. Berlin, the German capital, is the last stand for the Nazis, who want every doctor and nurse to handle a bazooka. In the end, the Nazi authorities become preoccupied with destroying evidence of their crimes, killing patients and, ultimately, themselves.

When Soviet soldiers enter the hospital, Artur, wearing a yellow star of David given to him by the Jewish father of an injured boy, negotiates their takeover of Charité. He performs the role of a self-sacrificing hero, in part to try and salvage his relationship with Anni. More importantly, he fears being prosecuted as a Nazi collaborator. Interestingly, one of the Soviet troops identifies Sauerbruch as the physician who treated Lenin’s tooth 30 years earlier—in Zurich.

All in all, Charité at War makes a consistently honest, convincing effort to present the horrible truth of this historical period. The unbearable pressure exerted by Nazi rule brings out the best and the worst in people. In terms of the latter, every weakness, fear, jealousy, opportunist impulse and desire for authority over others is amplified and can even take a murderous turn.

Artur under “normal” circumstances would be a conventional middle class professional and family man. However, his highly pronounced conformism and unwillingness to stand up against the fascist authorities make him a vessel for the carrying out of genuine atrocities. The series points out that Jewish personnel were all expelled from the hospital in 1933.

The acting is first-rate and committed in Charité at War, and the entire project has a sober, serious air to it. One striking visual feature is that many scenes open with actual historical footage then blended into the drama.

The series raises vital issues. The fascist threat arises from the crisis of capitalism. The Nazi regime was the terrible price the German working class paid, thanks to the Social Democratic and Stalinist misleaders who stood at their head, for the failure to overthrow the bourgeois order. Fascism is not a mass movement today, but there can’t be the slightest complacency about the dangers.

Fascism, Trotsky wrote, meant the direct dominance of every aspect of society by ruthless finance capital, which “gathers into its hands, as in a vise of steel, directly and immediately, all the organs and institutions of sovereignty, the executive, administrative and educational powers of the state: the entire state apparatus together with the army, the municipalities, the universities, the schools, the press, the trade unions, and the co-operatives.” And, one might add, the medical profession and hospitals.

When a state becomes fascist, Trotsky explained, it signifies first of all that the workers’ organizations are annihilated, the working class is reduced to an amorphous state, and “a system of administration is created which penetrates deeply into the masses.”

Charité at War is not written and directed according to a revolutionary outlook, but its honesty is an antidote to complacency.

Big anti-global warming demonstration in Berlin


This 29 March 2019 video is about the Fridays for Future demonstration in Berlin, Germany.

By Iason Stolpe in Germany:

Germany: Tens of thousands demonstrate against climate change

2 April 2019

Tens of thousands of school pupils, parents and students took to the streets of Berlin last Friday, under the slogan “Fridays for future”, to demonstrate against climate change. The protests began last August and have since mobilised increasing numbers of young people. On March 29 around 25,000 demonstrated in Berlin alone. The main speaker in Berlin was the initiator of the protests, Greta Thunberg from Sweden.

The front of the demonstration

The mood at the demonstration was political and militant. Many participants had brought homemade anti-capitalist banners. “The problem is capitalism”, one read. “System change, not climate change” stated another.

“The issue of climate protection is very topical today, because it’s about more than just the emission of pollutants. The situation has now progressed to the point where people who are not really radical are taking to the streets demanding radical solutions”, Anke said.

Anke

Anke was convinced that the current radicalisation would intensify as more people protest in opposition to the right wing and far right and the growth of militarism: “Just take a look at the US. What is lacking is education and enlightenment, but nobody is doing that. If you explain questions to people and motivate them, then they will become much more radical.”

A banner at the rally

Like many other demo participants, Anke had no confidence in the established parties or the big business elites. “We cannot wait until political and business leaders agree on any compromise. The broad masses have to come up with a solution, in opposition to the current policy.”

Manuel travelled with friends from the West German state of Schleswig-Holstein to participate in the demonstration. “I am standing here today to ensure that the climate goals are finally met”, he said. “There are big concerns everywhere, which receive lots of money from the state and then go onto produce extreme levels of CO2.”

Manuel

To implement these goals, however, it is important to work together internationally and not against one another, he added.

Another demonstrator commented, “We can all connect to the internet today. This protest was also organised over the internet. Unlike in the past, we are no longer restricted to one city, but can organise across Europe as we are doing today.”

Kim and Lian also saw international cooperation as a prerequisite for a successful climate policy. The major powers invested billions in military and trade war, while companies were adopting anti-climate policies, e.g. in the US, they said.

“We all have to work together internationally, no matter where we come from, irrespective of skin color, religion or origin. This is the only way to oppose trade wars.”

Part of the protest

This was view was echoed by two pupils passing by with a poster saying, “Tomorrow was yesterday”. They had made the banner to criticise current policies and politicians, they explained. “We deliberately left the wording open to provide food for thought for those who are not only concerned about the climate, but also about a policy to secure peace or social equality.”

Berlin bats and light pollution


This 26 July 2018 video from Germany says about itself:

Bats in bedroom @4 am in the middle of Berlin!!!

My friend left the window in his bedroom open and some bats decided to visit!

From Forschungsverbund Berlin in Germany:

How light from street lamps and trees influence the activity of urban bats

A complex relationship

March 27, 2019

Summary: A study sheds new light on how exactly ultraviolet (UV) emitting and non-UV emitting street lamps influence the activity of bats in the Berlin metropolitan area and whether tree cover might mitigate any effect of light pollution.

Artificial light is rightly considered a major social, cultural and economic achievement. Yet, artificial light at night is also said to pose a threat to biodiversity, especially affecting nocturnal species in metropolitan areas. It has become clear that the response by wildlife to artificial light at night might vary across species, seasons and lamp types. A study conducted by a team led by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) sheds new light on how exactly ultraviolet (UV) emitting and non-UV emitting street lamps influence the activity of bats in the Berlin metropolitan area and whether tree cover might mitigate any effect of light pollution. The study is published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

Natural sunlight sets the pace of day and night on our planet. Over millions of years, wildlife and people have adapted to the rhythm of the natural photoperiod. As creatures of daytime, humans have expanded their ecological niche into night-time by inventing and using artificial light. Yet nocturnal animals such as bats may suffer from the detrimental effects of artificial light generated by street lamps, a phenomenon now recognised as light pollution. As it turns out, bat responses to light pollution were complex. “We observed a higher activity of two pipistrelle bat species, the common pipistrelle and Nathusius’ pipistrelle, in areas with high numbers of UV emitting street lamps”, explains Tanja Straka, scientist at the IZW’s Department of Evolutionary Ecology and first author of the study. These opportunistic species may feed on insects that are attracted to UV emitting lamps. “However, all other species were less active at and even repelled by the lamps, irrespective of whether the light they emitted did or did not contain UV light”. adds Straka.

The novelty of this study is that these effects were considered in relation to tree cover. Not only do trees provide bats with shelter during daytime, trees may also provide shade for bats in illuminated areas. “Our goal was to determine whether and how tree cover influences any responses of bats to artificial light”, says Straka.

The team found that the response of bats to artificial light was intensified in areas with high tree cover. For example, the attraction of Pipistrellus pipistrellus to UV light was more pronounced when many trees were present, probably because UV light attracted insects from the vegetation. On the other hand mouse-eared bats (Myotis spp.) were less frequently recorded in areas with a high number of street lamps (irrespective of UV or no UV emission) and lots of trees. Mouse-eared bats seem to be particularly light-sensitive and avoid illuminated areas even when these include trees or shrubs. The team also found that high-flying insectivorous bats were more active in areas when the light emission from LED street lanterns was dampened by a high tree coverage than in areas with many LED lanterns and no trees.” LED lights do not attract large numbers of insects and therefore they are not attractive as foraging grounds for high-flying bats; they might even be repelled by light spillover from LED lamps. Tree cover seems to reduce light spillover, which enables high-flying bats to fly in the shadow of the tree canopy,” Straka explains.

These results are based on the analysis of more than 11,000 bat calls recorded during three months at 22 sites in the Berlin city area. Bat calls were identified by species and the activity of bats was calculated for each species and site. These data were compared with features of the landscape, such as tree cover and the intensity of light pollution as estimated by remote sensing (i.e. satellite-based data). In addition, the exact location of street lamps and information on UV light emission was used to estimate the level of light pollution in the study area.

“The bottom line is that for bats the relation between artificial light and vegetation is complex and it varies between species, yet overall artificial light at night has negative consequences for bats,” concludes Christian Voigt, the Head of Department. “Even those species that may hunt at street lamps opportunistically will suffer on the long run from the constant drain of insects dying at street lamps. Trees are important for urban bats, not only as a shelter but also as a source for prey insects. Hence artificial light should be avoided in habitats with many trees.” Adding trees in highly lit areas or turning off lights when the area is not in use could substantially contribute to the conservation of bats and possibly also other nocturnal wildlife, because trees provide shade and refuge that bats urgently need.

Artificial light influences the behaviour of many nocturnal animals such as bats, which are very sensitive to all types of lighting. Particularly critical is the illumination of natural caves in which bats roost. Cave illumination is widespread in tourist areas worldwide and disturbs the animals in their resting places. Researchers of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (MPIO) have now investigated how the illumination of bat caves affects the animals’ behaviour and whether the colour of light makes a difference on their flight and emergence activity. Although red light irritates the small mammals somewhat less than white light, from the researchers’ point of view neither the entrance nor the interior of bat caves should be illuminated if bats are present. The results are published in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation: here.

Light at night is harmful for amphibians, new research shows. Exposure to light at night has potential to make amphibians more susceptible to additional stressors: here.

A new study demonstrates that the ears of bats come with a ‘built-in ambulance’ that creates the same physical effect as the sound of an ambulance passing by. Researchers think the study of ear-generated Doppler shifts in bat biosonar could give rise to new sensory principles that could enable small, yet powerful sensors: here.

Light pollution may be increasing West Nile virus spillover from wild birds: here.

Israel’s Netanyahu attacks Jewish Museum Berlin


This December 2016 video is called Daniel Libeskind‘s Jewish Museum – Berlin.

By Sybille Fuchs in Germany:

Israeli premier demands German government stop funding Jewish Museum Berlin

27 December 2018

The Israeli government is continuing its ferocious campaign of censorship and repression aimed at anyone who dares criticise its policies.

At a German-Israeli government consultation meeting in early October, ultra-right Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany with a letter calling on her government to stop financial support for the Jewish Museum Berlin. The museum was accused of “anti-Israel activities” because it had sought, among various other activities, to engage in dialogue with Muslims and other religious communities.

The Jewish Museum, opened in 2001 and housed in a spectacular building designed by Jewish Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind, documents the centuries of Jewish culture in Germany that the Nazis tried to wipe out. It also organises eyewitness talks with Holocaust survivors, awards prizes for tolerance and civil courage, and seeks to instil a comprehension of the consequences of anti-Semitism and the crimes of the Nazis in its many visitors and countless school classes. It is one of the most popular museums in the German capital and throughout Germany. By the end of 2016 the museum had attracted nearly 11 million visitors.

Netanyahu’s letter states: “The Jewish Museum in Berlin, which is not affiliated to the Jewish community, often hosts events and discussions with prominent BDS [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which calls for a boycott of Israel until it meets its ‘obligations under international law’] representatives.” In addition, the museum has been staging an exhibition entitled “Welcome to Jerusalem,” which, according to the Israeli government letter, focuses on “the Palestinian narrative.”

Welcome to Jerusalem at the Jewish Museum Berlin (Photo- Yves Sucksdorff)

In addition to the Jewish Museum, the letter attacks about a dozen other organisations and institutions that criticise the policies of the Netanyahu government, reject the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, promote dialogue between Jews and Palestinians, or merely provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians. It calls on the German government to stop providing financial support for these allegedly “anti-Israeli organisations”.

They include non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and initiatives such as the German Protestant churches’ “Bread for the World” and the Catholic Church’s “Misereor” aid agency. “Bread for the World” is accused of promoting initiatives such as the “Coalition of Women for Peace”, … and supporting B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation that seeks to “end the Israeli occupation”. Misereor is accused of supporting “Breaking the Silence”, a coalition of former soldiers who criticise the violation of human rights in the Palestinian territories.

The Berlin Film Festival and the Left Party’s Rosa Luxemburg Foundation are also accused of “anti-Jewish activities”. The document goes on to condemn the magazine +972 published by the Green Party’s Heinrich Böll Foundation for allegedly opposing Israeli interests, citing writers for the magazine who have “regularly” accused Israel of apartheid. Also listed in the letter are funding programs of the German Foreign Office and Ministry of Development.

The letter calls for the federal government to “review its funding guidelines.” The “German support of NGOs that interfere in the internal affairs of Israel or promote anti-Israel activities”, is unique. “We call upon the German government to tie its financial support to a complete halt to such activities.”

The 7-page letter to the German Chancellery and Development Ministry was made public earlier this month, and various media outlets reported on it. The source of the letter, however, was not initially clear, because it contained neither a sender nor a signature. It has only now emerged that it was personally handed over by Netanyahu.

As has been the case in earlier campaigns against opponents of Israeli occupation policy, the letter seeks to connect the organisations mentioned with the BDS movement and denounces them as “anti-Semitic.” For example, the Berlin Film Festival is accused of “regularly hosting BDS activists as guests.”

Opposition to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is not anti-Semitism. Rather, it is the Netanyahu government in its struggle against the Palestinian population and the Israeli working class that relies on extreme right-wing forces—entirely in the tradition of anti-Semitism.

The WSWS recently published a comment noting that Israel has become a site of pilgrimage for far-right politicians from around the world. This is so obvious that some Israeli media have referred to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial as a “washing machine” where right-wing extremists can cleanse themselves of charges of anti-Semitism. Ultra right-wing politicians who have recently received a red carpet welcome at the memorial include Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán and his Austrian colleague Sebastian Kurz.

… They [European far right] would like to emulate “the passage last July of the [Israeli] so-called ‘National State Law’, enshrining Jewish supremacy as the legal foundation of the state….with their own xenophobic and racialist laws.”

This affinity between the extreme right and Netanyahu’s government has been underlined by the reaction to the Israeli letter. It has been enthusiastically greeted by the xenophobic, far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which sits in the German parliament.

In a guest commentary for the national-conservative Israeli media network Arutz Sheva, Petr Bystron, the AfD’s chairman in the Bundestag’s foreign affairs committee, warned against anti-Israeli lobby groups that had allegedly infiltrated senior German government circles. They were spreading one-sided reports of human rights abuses, according to Bystron, to slander Israel as “racist” and as an “apartheid state”.

Bystron claimed the AfD was the only party in Germany that opposed the supposed importation of anti-Semitism and Islamist terrorism via uncontrolled mass immigration from the Middle East. In addition, the AfD planned, he claimed, to expose the flow of money from Berlin and Brussels to the well-connected “anti-Israel” lobby.

In fact, the very same Bystron recently took part in a trip to South Africa to participate in exercises carried out by the “Suidlanders”, a right-wing, white “survivalist” group preparing for a “race war” against the country’s majority black population. One can easily anticipate that Bystron and AfD party leader Alexander Gauland may also soon be on the Yad Vashem invitation list.

Netanyahu’s attempt to squeeze off funding for the Jewish Museum plays into the hands of the far right in Germany. Memorials and museums recalling the Holocaust and Nazi crimes have always been a thorn in the side of right-wing extremists. Now the Israeli government is attacking an institution that seeks to educate millions about these crimes.

Netanyahu’s Embrace of Ethno-nationalists Endangers Jews in Europe. Israel’s right-wing is seduced by European nationalists’ warmth toward the Jewish state, and their hostility toward Islam. But an illiberal Europe intolerant of minorities and pluralism is a disaster for Jews. By Giorgio Gomel.

Americans for Peace Now (APN) calls upon fellow American Jewish organizations to join it in condemning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s embrace of the extremist right-wing political party Otzma Yehudit (“Jewish Power”). The leaders of Otzma Yehudit have publicly endorsed the racist ideology of Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose Kach movement was outlawed by Israel, the United States, the European Union and Canada as a terror organization. American Jewish leaders must not stay silent as Netanyahu not only endorses such a party as legitimate, but also works to bolster its political fortunes: here.

According to Haaretz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised top positions in the next government to Jewish Home leaders if they merged with the small extremist party Otzma Yehudit, or “Jewish Power,” which is led by three prominent Kahanists: here.

What Happens Now For Netanyahu After Indictment Announcement?. By Allison Kaplan Sommer, February 28, 2019.

NETANYAHU APPEARS TO SUFFER SETBACK Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fell short of securing a parliamentary majority with his religious and nationalist allies in national elections, setting the stage for a period of coalition negotiations that could threaten his political future and clear the way for him to be tried on corruption charges. [AP]

NETANYAHU INDICTED ON CORRUPTION CHARGES Israel’s attorney general indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges, including bribery, breach of trust and fraud. This heightens uncertainty over who will ultimately lead a country mired in political chaos after two inconclusive elections this year. [Reuters]

German AfD politician in Hitler wine scandal


From Sputnik News, 7 November 2018:

Jessica Biessmann, who used to represent the … Alternative for Germany party in Berlin’s parliament, has been in hot water after photos showing the woman in front of bottles with portraits of the Nazi Fu[e]hrer on them. …

Ms Biessmann with Hitler wine bottles

The compromising photos started circulating online in October. They showed the lawmaker lying on a bar counter with several bottles, which had Adolf Hitler’s portrait on them, in the background. …

Hitler wine bottles, photo picture alliance / DPA

The German media suggest that wine bottles with Hitler’s portraits and Nazi slogans used to be sold in Italy without any restrictions. In Germany, which is quite sensitive about its past, the distribution of such goods is outlawed, as well as any kind of Nazi propaganda and the spreading of symbols associated with the Third Reich.

This video says about itself:

Woman in Italy Confronts Store Owner Who Sells Nazi Wine

8 August 2018

The wine is produced by Italian winemaker Vini Lunardelli and is part of their “Historical Series”. The collection has wines named after dictators ranging from Napoleon to Hitler. The Hitler series, titled “Der Fuehrer”, includes both pictures of the dictator and Nazi slogans on bottles as well as pictures of other notorious [nazis] such as Rudolf Hess, Heinrich Himmler, Erwin Rommel and Sepp Dietrich.

In this video obtained exclusively by the World Jewish Congress, a wine store clerk in Northern Italy attempts to attack a woman who exposes on a camera that the store is selling wine with Hitler’s image.

Hitler beer

In Italy, Hitler beer is sold as well.

Mussolini wine, ©inostalgici.it

And Mussolini wine.

According to this September 2018 article from Austria (translated):

“My labels are very popular with Austrian tourists. Above all, they love the Hitler bottles. Austrians are among my best customers”, says the entrepreneur

from Italy who sells the fascist alcoholic drinks.

According to the London Times, 18 October 2018:

Ms Biessman[n], from the radical right, serves as [the AfD Berlin parliamentary caucus’] family policy expert. She has targeted the Islamic call to prayer, Germany’s “cuddly” justice system and migrant rescue ships in the Mediterranean.

The Berlin AfD now thinks Ms Biessmann’s bottles are bad public relations and have started a procedure against her. Meanwhile AfD leading politicians, far higher up than Biessmann, like Alexander Gauland and Björn Hocke, are very welcome in the party to whitewash Adolf Hitler and his murderous warriors.

Associated Press reports. October 17, 2018:

Separately, daily newspaper Thueringer Allgemeine reports that a senior AfD member in Thuringia state quit after photos surfaced showing him posing behind a swastika tablecloth while visiting Hitler-related sites in 2015.

Violent fight between two AfD politicians: here.

Google sexual abuse scandal, Berlin protesters’ victory


This 25 October 2018 video from Britain says about itself:

Google executive received £70m as company kept quiet about sexual misconduct claim

Read more here and here.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 25 October 2018:

Google has covered up allegations of sexual abuse against Android creator Andy Rubin. This reports The New York Times. Rubin was accused by a Google employee of sexual misconduct. The top level of the corporation found the accusation credible after investigation and moved towards a departure by Rubin.

He was not, however, dismissed on the spot. On his departure he received not only praise, but also 90 million dollars. Former CEO Larry Page praised him. “He made something very remarkable with Android, with more than a billion happy users.” The case of sexual misconduct never became known and the company was silent about the allegations.

Rubin had an extra-marital relationship with the woman since 2012. She says he forced her to have sex in a hotel room in 2013. She then broke off the relationship, reports The New York Times. …

Page did not respond to questions by the newspaper, who spoke with more than thirty employees and former employees of Google about sexual misconduct within the company. The New York Times also looked at company documents and court documents.

According to The New York Times, Google has covered up a number of other cases of sexual misconduct in recent years. In the past decade, apart from Rubin, two more senior employees were accused of sexual misconduct. Two of them, including Rubin, were able to leave but received a considerable sum of money. The third man is said to have been kicked upstairs.

Google staff walk out around the world over sexual harassment: here.

This is hardly Google’s only problem. See their war profiteering, only stopped by mass revulsion among Google workers. See their censorship of pro-peace or otherwise leftist Internet sites.

This 4 February video from Germany, with English subtitles, says about itself:

Who owns Berlin? “F*** off Google” (Part 1)

In the first of our two-part report, redfish teamed up with Berliner Marcus Staiger as he spoke to the people fighting against the gentrification of Berlin and one particularly unwelcome neighbour: Google. Featuring Berlin hip-hop artist Drob Dynamic, campaign groups including Stop Evictions and Fuck off Google.

This sequel video says about itself:

Part 2: Marcus Staiger reports for redfish how one of Berlin’s most radical neighbourhoods, Kreuzberg, is standing up to big data and gentrification.

Correction: A graphic in this report makes it appear as though Klaus Wowereit was mayor of Berlin from 2002-2007 when in fact he was Mayor from 2001-2014. Wowereit was responsible for the sell off of 110,000 public homes during the period of 2002-2007. We apologise for the confusing presentation of this information.

Gentrification by companies like Google makes rents unaffordable for not so rich Berliners, leading to evictions.

This 24 October 2018 German video says the Kreuzberg anti-Google protesters have won.

By Steve Sweeney:

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Anti-gentrification and privacy activists celebrate Google’s retreat from in Berlin

CAMPAIGNERS celebrated by saying “goodbye to Google” today after the US tech giant dropped plans to open a campus in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin.

The victory came after months of high-profile campaigning against Google’s bid to open a centre for start-up companies in the German capital, with activists citing it as proof that “protest works.”

Anti-gentrification activists were among those who exposed the role of Google in pushing up rental prices in areas that the firm moves into.

San Francisco has become the world’s most expensive city, which activists blame on Google’s presence, while its Toronto campus was branded “part of a dystopian ‘smart city’ project where the urban environment surveils everyone all the time.”

Despite Berlin claiming to operate a capped-rent system, the announcement of Google’s planned arrival saw rents in Kreuzberg rocket by 71 per cent from 2016 to 2017, compared with a city-wide average rise of 20 per cent.

The Fuck Off Google campaign group warned of the potential for Google to harvest personal information and highlighted the company’s reputation for colluding with authoritarian regimes.

Last month, activists from the group squatted the disused electricity substation that Google planned to move into.

Google spokesman Ralf Brenner denied that the company had dropped its plans because of the protests, claiming that the decision was taken after discussions with many stakeholders, including community groups and local politicians.

“Of course, we are living in Berlin ourselves, so we know what’s happening with the rents”. he said.

The Occupy Berlin group invited people to join them at the power station to drink champagne to celebrate, while warning that Google’s retreat from Berlin was likely to be temporary.

The space will instead be occupied by Betterplace, an online donation platform, and Karuna, which supports children in need.

Enormous anti-racist demonstration in Berlin, Germany


This video is about the 13 October 2018 big anti-racism demonstration in Berlin, Germany.

By Ulrich Rippert in Germany:

A quarter-million protest in Berlin against the grand coalition and the return of fascism

15 October 2018

Nearly 250,000 people demonstrated Saturday in Berlin against racism, the far-right Alternative for Germany’s witch-hunting of immigrants, and the reactionary policies of the grand coalition government.

Organized around the central slogan “#indivisible—solidarity instead of exclusion”, the protest was one of the largest in recent German history.

The organizers had expected 40,000 participants and were stunned when more than six times that number showed up to demonstrate. The opening rally at Berlin’s Alexanderplatz was jam packed, and when the front of the demonstration arrived at the Victory Column, just under three kilometres away, many still had not set off from the starting point.

The protest was the culmination of a growing mobilization against the grand coalition government of the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, which is implementing the xenophobic and right-wing extremist positions of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in all major policy areas.

In recent weeks, demonstrations against the AfD and the right-wing policies of the grand coalition have taken place in a number of cities. They have for the most part been given little coverage by the media. Most recently more than 40,000 people demonstrated in Munich and Hamburg against racism and a new, right-wing police law.

Especially since the events in Chemnitz and Dortmund, where far-right thugs and neo-fascists chased down foreigners, evoking sympathetic and supportive comments from the police, the secret service and the federal interior minister, resistance to the government has been increasing. On Saturday, protesters carried banners and posters saying, “No to Hate Against Muslims”, “No Place for Nazis” and “Racism is Not an Alternative.”

One banner read, “Solidarity with the Victims of Right-Wing, Racist and Anti-Semitic Violence.”

In addition to the fight against racism and xenophobia, demonstrators opposed the government’s anti-social policies and the growth of economic inequality. Ulrich Schneider, chief executive of the Joint Welfare Association, warned of the effects of rising poverty in Germany and called for urgent action by the government against uncontrolled increases in rents in many cities. He also denounced the efforts to pit the growing ranks of the poor and needy against immigrants and asylum seekers.

An employee of the low-wage airline Ryanair spoke about the brutal conditions confronting the workers and the strikes by Ryanair pilots and flight attendants in recent months.

A section of the 250,000 person demonstration

The demonstration was called by the “Indivisible” alliance, a coalition of some 4,500 associations, organizations and individuals. The alliance was joined by church organizations, charities and trade unions. Many celebrities, including the well known actor Benno Fürmann, the television presenter Jan Böhmermann and the band Die Ärzte, supported the protest. In the evening, a performance was given by songwriters Konstantin Wecker and Herbert Grönemeyer.

When it became clear in the run-up to the demonstration that the turnout could be bigger than originally anticipated, a number of political parties attempted to become involved. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) spoke of a great “affirmation of tolerance and cosmopolitanism.” Instead of sealing off [borders] and promoting nationalism, he declared, what was needed was more diversity and solidarity.

This was said by an SPD minister whose party supports the so-called “master plan” against foreigners drawn up by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer of the Christian Social Union (CSU). The plan is a scheme for locking up immigrants in camps, where they can be bureaucratically abused and deported as quickly as possible. Last year, in the previous grand coalition government, then-Justice Minister Heiko Maas had attacked anti-G20 demonstrators in Hamburg as “left-wing extremists” and called for the holding of a “rock against the left” concert.

Minister Maas’ wishes became reality soon.

This German 15 Juli 2017 video is about many neonazis doing the Hitler salute and shouting Sieg Heil (illegal in Germany) at a concert in Themar, while police did nothing to stop them.

At the demonstration, the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party—SGP) distributed many thousands of leaflets with the headline “The fight against right-wing terror requires a socialist perspective.” At two information stands, the SGP announced the publication of a new book titled Why are they back? Historical falsification, political conspiracy and the return of fascism in Germany. The book attracted great interest and sparked many discussions.

A young woman who had come to the demonstration with her mother from Luckenwalde in Brandenburg expressed great concern over the strengthening of the AfD and the increase in right-wing violence. “I think it is high time to fight right-wing tendencies and violence”, she said. “It is already the case that too much is accepted that is inhuman. We saw in World War II where that leads. In my opinion, we can see the beginnings here. We have to oppose that.”

Another demonstrator said she was participating in the protest to deliver on a promise she had made to her grandmother that she would never again experience such terrible events as she had experienced in her lifetime.

In many discussions, the right-wing policies of the grand coalition came up. It is widely understood that the establishment of a system of camps and the brutal deportation of refugees means that the government has adopted the slogan of the AfD, “Foreigners Out!”

A young man from Frankfurt am Main, who did not want to give his name for fear of reprisals, expressed indignation at the government’s policy. The treatment of refugees was “completely unacceptable”, he said. It was also “unacceptable that those who wanted to help refugees were treated like criminals”, he added. One had to assume, he continued, that in the next few years, because of the effects of climate change and the exploitation of the countries of Africa and the Middle East, more migrants would be forced to leave their homelands.

People are outraged by the fact that more than 1,500 refugees have drowned in the Mediterranean this year alone, and the German government and European Union are under such conditions constantly tightening their refugee policies. This was made clear by banners such as “Sea Rescue is Not a Crime.”

Michael said he was “appalled and angry” about the situation. The sealing off of Europe’s borders meant the government was allowing “hundreds of refugees to drown in the Mediterranean, which is terrible.”

Michael

He stressed that the government’s inhumane policy was directed not only against refugees, but also against its own people. While “billions of euros” were being spent on arming the military, “there is just as little money left for refugees as for healthcare, kindergartens and many other social needs”, Michael said.

At the closing rally, when it was announced from the platform that there were also SPD officials and leaders of … the Greens present, there were loud whistles and boos. Maya, a sales assistant from East Berlin, said angrily that it was “unheard of for the SPD to be demonstrating here while it carries out in government exactly the policy that is being protested against.”

Overall, the protest was characterized by a marked contradiction. While many demonstrators were outraged by the AfD, the growth of neo-fascist forces and the right-wing policies of the government, and were looking for a way to counter this, most of those addressing the rally sought to calm things down and de-escalate the situation. Their key words were harmony, reconciliation and neighbourly love.

In his speech, the secretary-general of the German section of Amnesty International, Markus Beeko, referred to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was passed almost 70 years ago. This guaranteed, he said, “universal and indivisible rights to every human being on this earth.” The right to think and say what you want, to believe who you want, to be protected from torture or persecution, to marry whomever you love—it was “a great idea” for which it was worthwhile getting involved.

The Protestant theologian and Berlin General Superintendent Ulrike Trautwein emphasized that hate damages social coexistence. She pointed to the peaceful demonstrations in East Germany in the autumn of 1989. At that time, a common slogan was “no violence.” The pastor exclaimed, “That should connect us today! No violence!” She said she feared that racism and anti-Semitism could make social violence socially acceptable again.

Jutta Weduwen, executive director of the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ASF), also expressed concern over the increase in social conflict and warned against “eroding solidarity and cold feelings.”

Hannah and Matthew

Many protesters responded to such calls for harmony with unease or hostility. This sentiment clearly emerged in a conversation with a couple from Berlin, Hannah and Mathew, who marched while wheeling their child in a pram. “I’m not as full of love as keeps being stressed here”, said Mathew, who comes from Scotland and is studying in Berlin. “When I see the right-wing extremists on the rise again, I’m angry. What I miss in all the speeches is a fight—not violence, but a political struggle.”

“It’s not all about love”, added Hannah, who has already completed her biology studies. “The cause of the problems is capitalism and the constant intensification of exploitation. We need a left-wing movement that fights against the existing system and does more than say love one another, be nice to each other. What is missing is a vision, a political idea.”

The demonstration Saturday was marked by the fact that very different positions on the fight against right-wing extremists and neo-fascists existed side by side. But it can already be seen that the aggravation of social conflicts will very quickly lead to a political differentiation.

The intervention of the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei was directed toward preparing the next stage of the struggle and making clear that the fight against the right requires a struggle against capitalism and therefore a socialist perspective.

The SGP has shown in recent years how the rise of the AfD and the neo-fascists was ideologically prepared. It has fought against efforts to downplay the crimes of German imperialism and the Nazi regime by professors such as Jörg Baberowski and Herfried Münkler at Humboldt University. It has warned of and exposed the return of German militarism. It has fought to mobilize the working class against these developments and their source in the capitalist system and all of its political parties and apologists, including the supposedly “left” organizations such as the SPD … and the Greens.

The SGP leaflet to the demonstrators states: “The only social force that can counter this development and stop the right wing is the international working class. For this reason, we call for the expansion of working class struggles across the continent. The conspiracy of the grand coalition, the intelligence services and right-wing extremists must be ended.

“It is time to revive the revolutionary socialist traditions of Marx, Engels, Luxemburg, Liebknecht, Lenin …”

Last weekend, nearly a quarter million people marched in Berlin, Germany to protest militarism, racism, and the promotion of the extreme right by Germany’s grand coalition government. The demonstration, dubbed “#indivisible” by its organizers, was the largest mass protest in the country since marches against the Iraq war in 2003. Some of the placards displayed at the protests, many of which were homemade, read, “No to the witch-hunting of Muslims,” “No place for Nazis,” and “Racism is no alternative.” One banner bore the declaration, “Solidarity with the victims of right-wing, racist, and anti-Semitic violence”: here.

Berlin’s mega-march and Bavaria’s Green gains. VICTOR GROSSMAN reports on the unexpected size of last Saturday’s anti-racist rally and the Green vote in the South.