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If in the German jurisdiction a person, without inciting violence, states in writing or in speech that they are opposed to the existence of the state of Israel and advocates that other people should also be so opposed, are they breaking German law?

I am interested in two cases: first, the general case (has the person committed a crime?); second, the case of a German civil servant (can or must their employer discipline them or even sack them in response to their action?)

  • Did you find anything that would suggest it? – unor Aug 13 '17 at 15:24
  • You can't quite oppose the existence of the state of Israel without advocating some major amount of violence, since the non-existence of that state implies massacring millions of Jews living there. But if you have any specific case in mind, you should post the details. – gnasher729 Aug 13 '17 at 15:59
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    @gnasher729 while I agree that the citizens of Israel would probably oppose the dissolution of that state it is theoretically possible that that (or any) state could be dissolved peacefully. – Dale M Aug 13 '17 at 20:22
  • @unor - What made me think it might be so was the unpublicised but clarified by email policy of a German company that owns a chat website. Some of their policies are simply German law, but I am not sure about this one. They won't say whether or not they believe they are simply seeking to ensure that German law isn't broken. I don't want to name them because that wouldn't help with the answer and I'd be interested in this question whatever made me think of it. – user13124 Aug 13 '17 at 23:19
  • @DaleM: Israel's neighbours have tried for 50+ years to dissolve the state most unpeacefully. – gnasher729 Aug 14 '17 at 19:16
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General case - legal or not?

It is hard to prove a negative - however, as far as I can see:

It is not illegal to state your opinion that the existence of the state of Israel is unjustified, or that the state should be dissolved.

Such a position would be considered outrageous by most Germans, in particular it is against the stated position of pretty much all political parties, except for the extreme right or left, and of most other organizations. It is not, however, illegal.

In general, the dissolution of a state is not in itself illegal according to national or international law, as long as it happens voluntarily. There are some precedents: For example, during the German Reunification of 1989, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) acceded to the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) under the (old) Article 23 of the Grundgesetz. One could argue that the German Democratic Republic effectively dissolved itself by that accession.

What would probably be illegal would be to call for a violent end of the state of Israel, or even for a war. The relevant laws:

Special case - civil servants

Civil servants are citizens, too, so mostly the same laws apply to them. However, for civil servants specifically there are higher requirements when it comes to respect for the German constitution, specifically for the "freiheitliche demokratische Grundordnung" (literally: "basic free and democratic order"). That means that opinions which are "extremist" but not illegal may not be tolerated.

Applicable laws/regulations:

As far as I can see, the rules for whether something violates these rules would be similar as above.


Note that there are even some Israelis who think that the state of Israel should not exist, at least not in its present form, so such a position is not totally unthinkable. The Wikipedia articles Right to exist and Existenzrecht Israels (German) give a good overview.

  • To the downvoter: I'd appreciate a comment explaining what is wrong with the answer - I researched it and tried to name the applicable laws. – sleske Aug 15 '17 at 19:31
  • Thank you for this very helpful and well researched answer on the general case. I tried to upvote but at the moment I only have 11 points. On the specific case of civil servants, though, I was wondering whether such advocacy might get a civil servant into trouble under the Berufsverbot? If you can answer on that too, I will accept this answer. – user13124 Aug 16 '17 at 10:45
  • @tell: I'll try to dig up something on civil servants. – sleske Aug 16 '17 at 10:52
  • There are still many who advocate a one-state secular-and-democratic Palestinian solution, to be achieved non-violently, such as these people. They write that "(t)he Constitution (of the Republic of Palestine) will be founded on the principle that all people who live in historic Palestine as well as Palestinian refugees who realise their right of return will have equality of citizenship and equality of stake." I would like to know whether a German civil servant who publicly supported this group, for example, could find himself in legal or employment trouble. – user13124 Aug 16 '17 at 10:55
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    @chirlu: "basic" is not meant as a translation of freiheitlich, but of the Grund in Grundordnung. I edited to complete the translation. – sleske Aug 24 '17 at 19:55

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