A man stands in the Federal Chancellery and puts the Holocaust into perspective, the German Chancellor stands next to him and says: nothing. There are a lot of cameras aimed at the two. You broadcast this moment to the whole world.
Afterwards it will be said that the Chancellor was angry, as one could have seen. Afterwards, Olaf Scholz will say that he was "deeply outraged" by the "unspeakable statements" made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. There is no doubt that the Chancellor means exactly that. But it's not enough.
Abbas spoke of "50 holocausts" in Palestinian places, the sentence is now in the room, and the room is the German chancellery. You have to repeat that again, because it's about a fundamental promise that this country has made, a consensus on which the republic stands: Where there is suspicion of relativization of the Holocaust, or even denial, with any form of anti-Semitism, it applies to intervene Instantly.
At a meeting with Chancellor Scholz, Palestinian President Abbas played down the Holocaust. "Abbas is a notorious Holocaust denier," says Volker Beck, President of the German-Israeli Society. Beck demands clear consequences from the federal government.
Not long after his appearance in the chancellery, former minister Jürgen Trittin commented that the chancellor later corrected whether he had reacted at the moment, but ultimately it was a discussion of methods. That's not it. The promise was about clairaudience and attention, and we apparently failed on that. The “resist the beginnings”, which has been invoked for decades, has long since sounded sadly hollow.
In the past few weeks, one work after the other with anti-Semitic motifs has “appeared” at the country’s most important and, of course, tax-financed art show, the Documenta in Kassel. It had been predictable.
Last week, the relatives of the Israeli victims of the terrorist attack at the Olympic Games in Munich 50 years ago canceled their participation in the commemoration ceremony. To date, Germany has not accepted responsibility for an attack that had been warned against.
And: people in Germany feel alone in their fear of attacks. Every year the list of anti-Semitic incidents on the streets, in schools, in so-called mainstream society grows. Beginnings and continued anti-Semitism are evident everywhere, and fighting back is shockingly often muted.
And so the real question that the chancellor has to answer is: What is Mahmoud Abbas, someone who has already attracted attention as a Holocaust denier, doing at a press conference in the chancellery? Had nothing to be expected once again?