Climate group's Israel-Hamas posts cause uproar in Germany

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Climate group's Israel-Hamas posts cause uproar in Germany
A demonstrator in Berlin waves a Palestinian flag in solidarity with civilians in Gaza. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Paul Zinken

Fridays for Future's German branch was under growing pressure on Friday to cut ties with the international climate movement over controversial social media posts about the Israel-Hamas conflict.


In an interview with Bild daily, Josef Schuster, the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, urged the German group to consider a "real disassociation, a change of name and the breaking off of all contacts" with the parent organisation.

Schuster accused the movement started by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg of a "crude distortion of history, demonisation of Israel and now also conspiracy ideology".

Fridays for Future on Wednesday shared a post on Instagram accusing western media of "brainwashing" people into backing Israel in the Middle East conflict.

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Israel has heavily bombarded Gaza since Hamas gunmen stormed across the border on October 7th, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, kidnapping over 220 others, according to Israeli officials.

The health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip says the strikes have now killed 7,326 people, mainly civilians and many of them children.

The Fridays for Future post alleged that western media outlets are "funded by imperialist governments who stand with Israel".

It also accused the media of concealing the fact that the latest attacks by Hamas are "rooted in the past 75 years of oppression and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians", which it described as a "genocide".

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The post did not mention Hamas's October 7th attack on Israel, in which people were shot, burned and mutilated to death.

The German branch on Thursday posted a message on X, formerly Twitter, stating that "the international account -- as previously emphasised -- does not speak for us".

The group has previously declared its solidarity with Israel as well as voicing support for civilians in Gaza amid Israel's massive bombing campaign.

It has also stated that it rejects all forms of anti-Semitism.


But the TAZ daily said the German group needed to "ask itself whether it can really show solidarity with Jews as an offshoot of a movement that is repeatedly conspicuous for its anti-Semitism".

Fridays for Future has been criticised over several controversial social media posts in the wake of the latest escalation in the Middle East.
On October 20th, Thunberg shared a photo showing herself and three other activists holding signs in support of Palestinians in Gaza.

The picture featured a blue octopus stuffed animal, which critics said was a reference to an anti-Semitic symbol found in early 20th-century political cartoons.


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