"Tolerance doesn't come as a gift"
Perhaps the evening will make the countless hate messages and abuses that Sawsan Chebli receives every day via social media and other channels fade into the background. The Berlin State Plenipotentiary to the Federal Government and State Secretary for Citizens' Engagement, together with Benjamin Steinitz, founder of the Research and Information Centre Antisemitimus Berlin (RIAS Berlin), was honoured for her outstanding commitment in the fight against anti-Semitism.
Award for Civil Courage for Sawsan Chebli and Benjamin Steinitz
"Tolerance is just as little a gift as freedom. Rabbi Andreas Nachama said in his laudation on the occasion of the fourth presentation of the Stand Up Award for Tolerance and Civil Courage on Thursday evening in the Potsdam State Chancellery. "Sawsan Chebli and Benjamin Steinitz stand for a crystal-clear analysis and a consistent fight against all forms of hostility towards the Jews.
In his speech, Nachama recalled a meeting with Chebli some time ago at a podium event on the subject of group-related misanthropy in the back room of a Reinickendorf pub in northern Berlin. After all, someone in the audience took heart and called out that he could not understand how a Palestinian woman and a Jew could represent the almost congruent arguments. "And suddenly Sawsan Chebli and I were much more similar than in our arguments," recalled Nachama, who also heads the Topography of Terror Foundation. "We had just been spurned out of the Berlin community: the Palestinian and the Jew. This evening should not be about us who we are, where we come from, but about political strategies and political education against anti-Semitism, against racism and against Islamophobia". Sawsan Chebli and he agreed that one should not rest. "One must do something for tolerance - even in a small pub in Reinickendorf." Sawsan Chebli does something. Untiringly.
Help for victims of anti-Semitism
The same applies to Benjamin Steinitz, according to Andreas Nachama: "His institution RIAS doesn't leave it in hot air, it helps victims of anti-Semitism quite concretely and reports every anti-Semitic incident that doesn't happen somewhere, but here, with us, among us.
The actual standing up prize was awarded to a project from Cottbus, the alliance "Cottbus is colourful". Franziska Giffey, Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and Patroness, said in her speech: "There are people who threaten our democracy, who are increasingly open to it. It takes courage to stand up against them and to present a differentiated view of things." The prize donated by the F.C. Flick Foundation pays tribute to this courage.
A further price went to Harald Rinkens of the alliance welcome culture Torgelow e.V.