Anti-Israel activists last week interrupted an event in Germany for a new book on anti-Semitism by a German-Persian-Israeli author.
Arye Sharuz Shalicar, a former IDF spokesperson, currently serves as head of international relations at Israel’s Intelligence Ministry, but was in Germany on a privately organized book tour.
Shalicar was reading from his new book, “The New-German Anti-Semite – Do Jews today belong to Germany?” in the town of Aurich, East Friesland, when several activists turned on loud music and started shouting “war criminal,” “child murderer” and “representative of an apartheid state.”
Some of the roughly 100 people in the audience called on the demonstrators to leave, but they continued to disrupt. After a few minutes the activists were removed by German police. Shalicar was able to continue with his lecture, focusing his remarks on the different strands of German anti-Semitism, some of which he has had painful personal encounters with growing up in Berlin’s tough Wedding neighborhood.
Activists associated with the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement are known to disrupt Israel-related events and mostly recently called for a boycott of the Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv. The movement calls for a boycott of all activities and contacts related to Israel.
Last week, the German government approved a resolution denouncing BDS, describing its methods as anti-Semitic and reminiscent of Nazi-era calls to boycott Jews.
Shalicar, a German-born Persian Jew who grew up in a Muslim-dominated suburb of Berlin, immigrated to Israel in 2001, eventually becoming head of the Europe desk in the IDF Spokesperson Unit and is now an adviser to Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.
“The disruption of my event shows that there is anti-Semitism in Germany on the left and in BDS,” Shalicar said following the incident. “The people who disrupted me were not interested in dialogue, and I did not have a problem answering their questions, but they did not want to listen.”
Shalicar said he encountered a similar incident at a book reading by a Holocaust survivor.
“The same aggressive BDS activists who disrupted my book reading in East Friesland were also the ones who interrupted a reading of a Holocaust surviving woman,” Shalicar tweeted afterwards. “This shows what wood they are carved from.”