Jews in Germany are under increasing threat of anti-Semitic attacks, both physical and verbal, meaning that normal community life is not possible without police protection, a Jewish community leader says.
Charlotte Knobloch, the former head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and current President of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, believes the current sociopolitical climate in Germany is shifting in a troubling direction following the election of the far-right AfD party to the German parliament earlier this year.
“Jewish life can only take place in public under police protection and under the strictest security measures — or it has to be canceled altogether… Jewish institutions, synagogues and cemeteries are regularly vandalized, publicly accessible exhibitions and installations are willfully damaged or destroyed,” Knobloch told Heilbronner Stimme Friday.
Knobloch says that anti-Semitic attacks in Germany had become “commonplace,” especially after a three-meter high menorah was vandalized in the city of Heilbronn during the Hanukkah celebrations this year. Police are investigating whether it was a hate crime or just a random act of vandalism.
“With the AfD, exclusion, inwardness, aggression, contempt for humanity, conspiracy theories, volkisch nationalism, neo-Nazism, violating the constitution, Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism, racism, anti-religiousness, hostility toward the media and Europe, revisionism and historical relativism move into the Bundestag and its national and international bodies,” Knobloch said.
She also raised concerns about anti-Semitism from Muslim immigrants in Germany, particularly the burning of Israeli flags following US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“Anti-Semitism, has grown on the right and the left, in the Muslim community and also in the heart of German society,” Knobloch contends.
In response to the rise in such incidents and tensions within the Jewish community and German society as a whole, German Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere called for the appointment of an anti-Semitism commissioner to protect against rising hate crimes and negative sentiment towards Jews in Germany.
“Every criminal act motivated by anti-Semitism is one too many and a shame for our country,” de Maiziere said, as cited by The Times of Israel.
“Anti-Semitism must never again take hold in Germany,” he added, highlighting a rise in “derogatory remarks, inappropriate jokes and discriminatory behavior against our Jewish citizens.”
An April report commissioned by the German parliament found that Jews in Germany were facing a rising tide of anti-Semitism, triggering fears for their safety, Deutsche Welle reports.
Britain, Austria, Romania and, as of September, Germany, have all formally accepted the working definition of anti-Semitism proposed by the International Alliance for Holocaust Remembrance, which states that, “targeting all Jews as a proxy for Israel, denying Jews the right to a homeland and using historical anti-Semitic images to tarnish all Israelis,” are now forms of anti-Semitism in addition to previously defined hate crimes against Jews, Arutz Sheva reports.
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