The 10th Anniversary of SPME’s German Chapter
A Documentation of the Berlin-Symposium on
“Anti-Semitism, Middle East, and after 150 years still no end to it”
By Elvira Groezinger
These are the proceedings of the talks delivered at the SPME-Symposium on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the SPME German Chapter which took place in Berlin in December of 2017.
We were extremely honored to host his Excellency, the Ambassador of the State of Israel in Germany, Mr. Jeremy Issacharoff as well as Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, our Executive Director from the United States, and SPME’s Secretary Prof. Richard Landes from Israel. The Symposium took place in the hall of the Academy of the General Council of Jews in Germany courtesy of its Executive Director, Mr. Daniel Botmann, who was also in attendance.
The German Chapter was founded as a response to the calls for boycott of Israeli Universities and its scholars. The Symposium came at a pivotal time where our struggle for academic integrity and support for Israel is being challenged by BDS activities and anti-Semitism from three sections within German society: The extreme Right, the extreme Left, and Jews who dislike the “other.” Moreover, today, we have more obstacles to overcome than ever before. For example, back in 2017 we observed how the German Government refused to guarantee the return and safety of the Dead Sea Scrolls to Israel after being showcased at the Bible Museum in Frankfurt arguing that due to their “contested location” the Israeli ownership of the scrolls is “unclear.” Scholars from our midst protested against this.
Following President Trump’s decision to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the European Union, the German Chancellor, President, and most of our media were protesting and warning us of a Palestinian uprising. But as we know that violence initiated by the extremists takes place regularly with or without any pretexts, something we see in Palestinian text books and in sermons delivered in their Mosques. These are all part of the double standards we face as they relate to Israel. Further, we face some challenges from our own German foreign policy which at the present time is anti- Israeli and pro-Palestinian, voting repeatedly at the UN against its professed close friend and ally Israel. But I am optimistic that, with “a little help from our friends…” – that is you all, dear SPME-friends and members – “we shall overcome”!…
Finally, we have not received all the complete manuscripts of lectures given at the Symposium. The following documentation includes some press articles in order to give the reader the full scope of the event and the topics which were tackled over the course of the two days of the conference.
Dr. Elvira Groezinger, former President of the German Chapter, now Deputy President.
Berlin, in April 2019
SPME at large is grateful to Dr. Groezinger for all her tireless efforts , hard work and dedication for making the conference a great success!