In June 2017, three active members of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement disrupted a talk titled “Life in Israel — Terror, Bias and the Chances for Peace,” by an Israeli official who was hosted by the Deutsch-Israelische Gesellschaft (German-Israeli Society) at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Aliza Lavie, a member of Knesset for the centrist Yesh Atid party and chairwoman of the Knesset Caucus for the Struggle Against the Delegitimization of the State of Israel was an Israeli government coalition member during the 2014 attack on the besieged Gaza Strip, “Operation Protective Edge,” in which 2,220 Palestinians were killed. Accompanying Lavie was Dvora Weinstein, a Holocaust survivor.
As a result of their protest disrupting a representative of the Israeli state and challenging her responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity, “the Humboldt Three” — Ronnie Barkan, Stavit Sinai and Majed Abusalama, two Israelis and a Palestinian from Gaza — were charged with trespassing and assault in response to accusations from the organizers of the event. Further, Israeli and German media labeled their protest an anti-Semitic attack against a Holocaust survivor.
Israeli governments throughout history have exploited a dynamic of violence and inequality reinforced by propaganda to promote a Zionist ruling class at the expense of the Indigenous Palestinian people.
Israel has persecuted Jewish and non-Jewish anti-Zionists since its inception, and even before the foundation of the state. Nowadays, Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of the BDS movement are routinely villainized, accused of anti-Semitism and even deported.
The legal proceedings against the Humboldt Three are set to begin today — March 4, 2019. Truthout spoke with the activists via video chat and email about their activism and the BDS movement, the plans for the trial, and the importance of the trial in both the German and global contexts.