It is with dismay and great concern that we, the management and the programme collective and of the Jewish Film Festival Berlin Brandenburg, observe the terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel and the escalation of violence in the Middle East, but also the anti-Semitic attacks in Berlin and Brandenburg and the violent mood in German discourse.
Partly affected by this ourselves, we realise that within a few days a climate of fear and psychological and physical threat has developed for Jews. We see helplessly how fears come up that we thought or hoped belonged to the German past, but not to a Jewish present in Germany.
We see that Jews feel threatened in their everyday lives as never before after the Shoah, that traumatisation is (re)surfacing. We also see that Palestinians and their relatives feel that they have no voice in a democratic country and that they cannot articulate their perspectives and their pain. We see how a polarised discourse demands confessions instead of conversations and the space for empathy for all victims/both sides becomes smaller and smaller.
We are stunned to see that all those who have worked in recent years in Israel/Palestine and also here for dialogue and encounter, for empathy and peace, who have striven for respect and recognition, are standing before the ruins of their commitment.
Terrorist attacks, with the inconceivable violence and fear they seek to unleash, produce many losers: they contribute to destroying spaces for dialogue, painstakingly built trust and a dialogue that we want and need to have and that we currently do not know how and where it can be resumed.
We are dismayed, full of concern and sometimes helpless - but we are not prepared to give up our hope that art and culture in particular will be the space where the opportunities for conversation, empathy and the recognition of different perspectives lie.