Oliver Vrankovic

DIG – solidarity with Israel in Germany

solidarity with Israel in Stuttgart

Monday evening, two days after Palestinian terrorists and residents of the Gaza strip conducted a massacre in the Western Negev, reminiscent of the days of the extermination of the Jews by the Germans, more than 500 people lit up the flashlight of their cellphones and sang the Hatikva on the central market square of Stuttgart in southwest Germany.

The show of solidarity was organized the local branch of the German-Israeli Society (DIG) that got high profile politicians and clergy men to speak. The mayor of Stuttgart, the president of the county parliament of Baden-Württemberg, the head of the Jewish community, a bishop and a protestant dean spoke among others and reiterated their support for Israel and the Jewish people.

It was one of dozens of Pro-Israeli gatherings that were organized by different DIG branches in Germany within the first three days after the pogroms Saturday morning. The DIG is an organization in Germany that promotes relations with Israel. It has 54 chapters and more than 6000 members. The branches of the DIG organize Hundreds of lectures every year and big Israel parties to celebrate Independence Day in the different cities. The DIG and its branches are the ones that confront biased media and antisemitic events. The DIG pressures politicians to follow up on their words about Israel’s security as part of German raeson of state.

Not only did the DIG organize the first shows of solidarity but also stepped in for the Hasbera that was absent in the first days of the war. The young forum of the DIG conducted an excellent information campaign in the social networks.

The president of the DIG, Volker Beck, the board and the local branches did a great job, calling for unconditional support for Israel and the IDF. Volker Beck prominently demanded and demands to take action against the sponsors of terror by double checking all financial support for the Palestinians and changing the German Iran policy. The chairmen of different DIG branches demanded to outlaw Palestinian organizations like Samidoun that were celebrating the mass killings of Jews in the streets of Berlin and other cities. It’s because of the calls of DIG to support Israel on the streets that Israel flags were flown in the main streets and squares in Germany.

Samidoun indeed got outlawed and many Palestinian demonstrations were forbidden.

Organizing the rally in Stuttgart in no time seemed difficult not only because of the weekend but also because I am the chairman and I live in Ramle. Thanks to modern technology it wasn’t really a challenge to activate all contacts. My board colleagues left everything and dedicated their time to get everything done that had to be done. In little time we got the Jewish community, the sober left, the churches and the youth organizations of the different democratic political partys to cooperate with us and the weekly rally for Ukraine offered us help with the sound. The city and the county parliament and the commissioner for combating antisemitism in Baden-Württemberg all shared out call to join the Israel support. Iranian anti regime activists joined the rally.

A nearby rally of the Palestine Committee Stuttgart, a Samidoun linked Palestinian group was outnumbered by far.

Right after the end of the gathering, that was widely covered in the news, the DIG Stuttgart started to step up the pressure to forbid Palestinian rallies in Stuttgart. The DIG Stuttgart ferociously promotes the ban of the Palestine Committee that was in the last few years too often given rooms and stages to spread their Israel hate. Other DIG branches work hard to get the respective local antisemitic groups outlawed.

In the last 10 days, Hundreds of Germans joined the DIG.

DIG and other organizations that are truly concerned about the Israeli people help spread information crucial to understand the Israeli campaign now. This contribution in the fight for the public opinion came after months of being attacked by right wing extremist Germans and Israelis that can’t accept that the DIG is non-partisan and has members of all democratic parties.

In his unshakable support of Israel, the president of the DIG, Beck, says that official Germany not only needs to stress out Israels right to defend itself but support Israel with all means necessary to root out Hamas.

We work hard to maintain the strong solidarity of the German mainstream with Israel. It will for sure soon be questioned but we’ll do everything to provide what it needs to make the Germans understands that Israel needs to root out the likes of ISIS and Boko Haram and the Nazis for good. We want the Germans to understand that Never Again is now.

We start next week with online lectures about antisemitic networks and their financing in Germany to create public pressure on decision makers to fight all antisemitic networks in Germany. We also plan online panels with voices from Israel.

The initial and spontaneously organized DIG pro-Israel rallies were followed by gatherings of Thousands. This Sunday the DIG forged a broad alliance for a mass rally at the iconic Brandenburg gate in Berlin.

When Jihad bombed a hospital in Gaza, the DIG was the first to launch a massive media campaign to counter the claims of Hamas that the hospital was attacked by Israeli forces.

I live in Israel since 2007. I organize educational trips and exchanges and I was many times in the Gaza envelope with groups. I met many amazing people there. Some of them aren’t anymore since Saturday morning. I also work as a guard in a parent’s home and have to see the old people, some of them survivors, running for shelter several times a day.

When I saw the videos of the people singing the Hatikva in central Stuttgart in a strong show of support of Israel I felt that I did at least what I could do.

About the Author
Oliver Vrankovic, 44, chairman of the DIG Stuttgart, lives since 2007 in Israel and works a journalist and organizes educational trips.
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