Anti-Semitism in day-to-day life in Berlin, the slogans from the demonstrations in recent days and political developments in the Middle East conflict – Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel discussed these and other subjects in Kreuzberg with actors from Berlin’s Muslim community.
The lively debate was an important exchange that lasted almost two hours. “That was the most important appointment I had today,” Gabriel said. The meeting took place on the premises of the Kreuzberg Initiative against Anti-Semitism. Participants included not only members of the Initiative but also Muslim migrants and actors from the religious, cultural and social spheres.
Special responsibility for Israel
“Anti-Semitism goes against our constitution,” Gabriel stressed at the beginning of the debate. Germany had a special responsibility for Israel, he went on. It was not just a matter of demonstrating tolerance towards the Jewish community, but of recognising the State of Israel’s right to exist.
That being said, it obviously also had to be possible on this basis to criticise Israeli policy, Gabriel continued – as regularly happens, for instance in relation to settlement activities.
Civil society plays an important role
All the participants were agreed that there was no place for anti-Semitism in Germany. They agreed that civil-society groups such as the Kreuzberg Initiative against Anti-Semitism have an important contribution to make in dismantling prejudices and building up stable relations by bringing people into contact with each other and facilitating a frank exchange in which there is room for criticism.