“Greta is no longer a role model,” writes a disappointed Marlene Schönberger in a comment for “Jewish General“. The 32-year-old is a Green Party member of the Bundestag for the Rottal-Inn constituency (Bavaria). She is committed to combating anti-Semitism and promoting Jewish life in Germany. She has long been warning that Israel-related anti-Semitism is deeply rooted in the international climate movement. But the latest posts from the “Fridays for Future” movement on social media would have surprised even them.
Leading members of the climate movement are increasingly attracting attention through their radical statements. Around three weeks ago, Greta Thunberg, founder of the movement, called for a strike in solidarity with Palestine and Gaza on her Instagram account.
The international account “Fridays for Future” reacted even more grotesquely to the shocking attack by Hamas on October 7th. The post speaks of a “genocide” of the Palestinians by Israel. The article also accused the Western media of deliberately withholding information in order to keep people on Israel’s side. Israel is actually an “apartheid state”.
Self-criticism should now come first
For Marlene Schönberger, the words of the activists remain incomprehensible: “When it comes to climate protection, the activists appeal to listen to science, and now they are spreading conspiracy ideologies and Hamas propaganda?” What is also frightening for her is the number of followers that Thunberg reaches with her calls . The 20-year-old is followed by over 14 million people on Instagram. In this way, she could bring hatred of Jews and Israel to a whole new target group.
Especially in these times it is particularly important to critically question your own actions, says Schönberger. It doesn’t help to point the finger at others or always blame others. “It is mainly Jews who speak out after breaking new taboos because the necessary outcry is not coming,” she continues. Self-criticism from the non-Jewish side is therefore particularly necessary now.
“Fridays for Future Germany must clearly stand on the side of Israel and on the side of Jews,” said Schönberger. But the international “Fridays for Future” movement is by no means successful in distancing itself from anti-Semitic statements. It recently published another post on Instagram in which the group defended its statements and spoke of “fear-mongering against young climate activists” by the German press.
“Greta can’t and shouldn’t be a role model anymore!”
“It’s obvious that a lot of things are falling apart,” said also Luisa Neubauer, the most prominent activist in the German climate scene, the “Zeitmagazin”. We now have to see “with whom we can find a working basis based on common values, and where that could be.”
For Schönberger, however, it is clear that this can only happen under one condition: “Fridays for Future International can no longer be an alliance partner as long as anti-Semitism in its own ranks is not dealt with decisively. Greta cannot and should no longer be a role model!”