Israeli Major Arye Sharuz Shalicar was promoting his new book The New German Anti-Semite at a high school in Aurich in northwest Germany, on 17 May, when two activists, one German and one Israeli, interrupted his speech.
“As soon as we got word of the upcoming events we tried to intervene,” Christoph Glanz told The Electronic Intifada.
“Shalicar has written two more or less autobiographical books which contain a lot of slander, character assassination and at their core claim that anti-Semitism is everywhere and most prominent among leftists, Muslims and self-hating Jews.”
“We played the “Yes BDS” song from a speaker that we brought along,” Glanz said. After the music stopped Glanz addressed Shalicar directly, denouncing him for representing an apartheid state.
“I was quickly surrounded by around a dozen people. Many were shouting in my face from all sides, some pulling my arms from behind and trying to drag me towards the exit while I tried to continue addressing Shalicar,” Glanz said.
The video above, made by the activists, shows the protest.
In the video, Israeli activist Ronnie Barkan, a veteran of similar protests, can be heard calling out in Hebrew to Shalicar that he is the representative of “a criminal apartheid state which practices crimes against humanity since its very foundation.”
Audience members attempted to drown out the protests.
Threats of violence
Shalicar, German-born and Jewish, migrated to Israel in 2001. He has been a military spokesperson and now works for the Israeli intelligence ministry.
In 2017, he threatened German civilians in a Facebook posting, stating that they should “live in fear.”
“Please share! The message of this article also goes out to all those in Germany who think they can burn the Star of David publicly without being punished for it,” he wrote. “We know who you are, where you are and how we can bring you to justice. We determine time and place. Live in fear!”
He appeared to be referring to protests in which it was claimed that Israeli flags were burned.
His message was posted with a link to an article in German newspaper Die Welt detailing an Israeli military operation in Ramallah in which undercover soldiers shot at unarmed Palestinian protesters.
The photo accompanying the article that appeared on Shalicar’s Facebook posting showed one of the undercover Israelis brandishing a pistol.
The threat of violence from an Israeli official against German citizens on German soil could scarcely have been more explicit.
Shalicar had given a talk the day before his lecture in Aurich at the offices of German newspaper Nordwest-Zeitung in Oldenburg where he is a regular contributor.
PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, condemned the move, urging the newspaper to reverse its decision to host him.
“We are shocked that a media outlet would give a platform to an Israeli official whose job is to deliberately misrepresent the facts, allowing Israel’s brutal regime to continue killing Palestinians and violating our human rights,” PACBI said.
“This has nothing to do with ‘freedom of expression’ as incitement to and justification of racial hatred and war crimes are never entitled to such protection or platforms.”
The event went ahead as scheduled and Shalicar is slated to give other talks, including in Berlin.
When it comes to Palestine, German authorities are becoming increasingly barefaced about double standards.
Shalicar’s role as a military spokesperson justifying Israel’s 2010 assault on the Mavi Marmara in international waters, and its killing of 10 civilians aboard the ship, have not prevented him from giving talks around Germany.
The International Criminal Court prosecutor concluded that Israeli forces likely committed war crimes during the Mavi Marmara attack.
Nor has the fact that Shalicar openly threatened German citizens exercising their democratic rights to protest limited his access to German venues.
The same cannot be said for Palestinian activists, as evidenced by the forced deportation of Rasmea Odeh, a victim of Israeli torture.
At the behest of high-profile Israeli politicians, Odeh was prevented from speaking at an International Women’s Day event in Berlin earlier this year.
The German parliament’s recent smearing of the BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – movement as anti-Semitic is the latest in a long line of crackdowns on people advocating for Palestinian rights.
“Shalicar attempts to come across as very soft-spoken whilst setting a racist agenda,” said Glanz. “The incident where he threatened German citizens was an exception, but the Facebook post illustrates the very brutal mindset they are in.”