Our basic concept: the basis of our work

Photography by Ananda Rieber / www.Ananda-Rieber.de

The members of our association spent weeks discussing the content and the attitude with which we approach topics. The updated basic positions were finally adopted with 94% approval and 6% abstentions in April 2023 and represent the basis of our work.

The ValuesInitiative is a Jewish voice in civil society in Germany. As a non-profit association, we work non-partisan and are committed to strengthening the values of the liberal-democratic society  from Jewish perspectives. We do this by promoting value-based political, social and media discourse, civic Jewish involvement in Germany and German-Israeli relations. To achieve our goals, we also cooperate with other political or social actors, institutions and organizations.

The following basic concept forms the basis of our work:

We represent positions that strengthen our constitution and the values of liberty and democracy on which it is based. We wish to protect the social culture of liberty and democracy in Germany which has developed from these practiced values.

The fulfilment of personal needs and the pursuit of individual goals must not counteract the social culture of liberty and democracy.

Social participation is not determined by religion, passport, colour of skin, gender or sexual orientation but by the acceptance of our constitutional values.

We wish Germany to be a part of a robust and safe European Union.

It is the duty of the state to further, promote, implement and protect the social culture of liberty and democracy. This includes the duty to convey and to make it perceptible as well as to ensure external, internal and social security for its citizens.

For the good of our society the whole national capacity to act has to be utilised. This includes preventive activities like education, cultural promotion and integration as well as sanctions required by law. The consequent use of the law is an essential requirement for the credibility of the constitutional state.

Judaism with its diverse traditions has been part of the German past and present for over 1700 years. Although we still feel the rupture caused by the Shoah, our members identify with their German home. We appreciate the different denominations within the Jewish religion. Together we are a part of the social culture of liberty and democracy. The state has to ensure the survival and thriving of Jewish life. This also includes Jewish circumcision and kosher ritual slaughtering, because these are constituting components of Judaism. Their basic conditions and circumstances are sufficiently regulated.

The majority of Jewish Germans also has a close connection to Israel and sees the country as a “safe haven” not least because of historical and current experiences. Therefore, we expect German Foreign Middle East policy to show clear solidarity with Israel in word and action. The security of Israel as a Jewish state must be guaranteed and actively promoted. The aim is peaceful coexistence within Israel as well as with its neighbours.

Those countries, governmental and non-governmental organisations that see Israel as an enemy, must not be partners of Germany. This also includes anti-Israel boycott movements and their supporters.

The special relationship between Germany and the Jewish state is substantially based on the European history of suffering during the Shoah. However today this relationship is shaped by the mutuality of values of both democracies as well as their similar social, economic and security structures and challenges. Furthermore, Israel’s role as a democratic and geostrategic anchor of stability in the Middle East is of great importance both to Germany and Europe.

Antisemitism is a hostile to Jews worldview that is ultimately aimed at their destruction. The definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in its expanded form is our guidance in defining antisemitism.

No room should be provided for hatred of Jews, historical misrepresentation, conspiracy myths and anti-Judaism. “Criticism of Israel” characterized by double standards, delegitimization and demonization of Israel, as well as “anti-Zionism” and calls for boycott against Israel and anything connected to Israel is still antisemitism in disguise.

In the course of the German history Jewish people have been threatened and killed by right-wing extremists, as well as by left-wing radicals and Islamists.

A growing milieu, making use of intersectional and postcolonial theoretical elements, is stoking antisemitic resentment and enabling antisemitic stereotypes, historical misrepresentation and conspiracy myths to be entrenched even in leftist and liberal discourse.

We therefore call for prevention by education and ostracism of antisemitic incidents and statements, as well as their consistent prosecution with all the sanctions available under the rule of law.

All radical and extremist groups share a common element: they abuse free spaces within our open society and erode social peace. Within the framework of our defensible democracy, we approve monitoring and observation of all extremist and radical forces in accordance with the law. Illegal activities and criminal tendencies have to be counteracted with all the means available under the rule of law.

We strongly condemn any spreading of hate against dissidents, minorities or other people deviating from the norms of the society or the ruling group. Right-wing and left-wing hatred differ both in quantity and quality. While right-wing extremism penetrates society much more strongly in terms of the numbers of its followers and exercised violence, both right-wing and left-wing extremism ultimately lead to a society in which, among other things, Jews can no longer live.

Violence, terrorist and anti-state activities are among the greatest challenges for politics and society.

The so called “legalists”, who, for example, as part of the “New Right Movement” appear ostensibly law-abiding, pose a particular difficulty in this regard.

Another important element of the fight against radicalism and extremism is strengthening the political centre of society.

We reject those Muslim associations and organisations which want to give religion a primarily political dimension or stand for religious beliefs that do not comply with the social culture of liberty and democracy. Religious speeches must not be used to spread propaganda, hatred and intolerance. The radicalizing influence of other states on local Muslim communities must be pushed back.

The state has to create strict criteria for cooperating and financing organisations to prevent strengthening forces which do not wish to comply with our liberal democratic constitution. Those organisations, associations and mosques which are not fully committed to democracy and indivisible human rights have to be restricted in their activities, banned and prosecuted if necessary.

In accordance with the aforesaid, the ValuesInitiative (de: WerteInitiative) strives with all the means of informative and educational persuasion to secure a Jewish future in a liberal democratic society and to strengthen a constitutional state that effectively protects this cohesive society.