Friday, 9 September, our group of mostly German Mennonites,
in the first German-speaking CPT delegation, participated in a Women in Black
vigil. The Women in Black are Israelis, including Holocaust survivors, who
silently protest the Israeli occupation of the land of Palestine by gathering
at the same spot in West Jerusalem at the same time every week since the first
Intifada. They hold up signs in
the shape of a black hand bearing the slogan, â€śEnd the Occupationâ€ť in Hebrew,
Arabic, and English.
At the vigil we encountered animosity by Israeli passers-by
and many of us felt uncomfortable taking part in the protest because German
history. However, although we could
respond to insulting gestures and shouting and even aggressive Israeli youth by
smiling and silently praying for them, we were not prepared for one particular Jewish
reaction, even though we all knew exactly what that reaction would be. The challenge of how Germans,
responsible for the Holocaust and the extermination of six million Jews, could
dare criticize Israel, the perceived safe haven for the Jewish people.