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Controversial lecture after violent attack: Israeli speech at Bonn University peaceful under police protection

Controversial lecture after violent attack : Israeli speech at Bonn University peaceful under police protection

Police in plain clothes secured the entrance to the festival hall at the university’s main building on Thursday. After the violent attack against a 50-year-old college professor from the USA a day prior, special precautions were taken.

Amichai Magen had been invited by the „Center for International Security and Governance“ to speak about „Managing Terrorist Threats: The Growing Democracy Advantage“. „I am glad we could secure him as a lecturer“, said host James Bindenagel. Days before the BDS group (BDS = Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) had demanded a cancellation of the event. „The attack on the Jewish professor has nothing to do with our demand to cancel the event“, several members of the group insisted. They still maintained a critical position against Professor Magen, as they think he „as a propagandist supports positions of Israeli politics in contradiction with democratic values“.

Due to the violent attack, university rector Michael Hoch also came to the lecture. „I am sad and embarrassed about what happened to our guest“, he said. „We welcome everybody and want to keep our lively debate climate.“

Amichai Magen, who believes that democracy can defeat terrorism better than other state forms, was not distracted by the attack on his colleague. „No, I am not afraid“, he said in a conversation with the GA. „It was ever easy to be a Jew. Not 2,000 years ago, not 80 years ago, and not now.“

But: „I am in Germany often, and I have many contacts here. I feel always welcome and amongst friends. Attacks like this one neither represent Germany nor democracy“, he said.

(Original text: Gabriele Immenkeppel, Translation: Mareike Graepel)