A guest house in Germany’s Black Forest region caused an uproar on social media after it turned down Israeli guests saying, “Our apartments are not for them.” Communicating through an online booking service, guest house instructed Israelis to “cancel the booking.” Four Israeli families were hoping to book apartments at the guest house while planning a trip to Germany next summer.

City officials and regional press are trying to downplay the incident as a misunderstanding, but the incident comes in the backdrop of rising antisemitism and antisemitic hate crimes in Germany. Earlier this year, Kempinski-Hotel in Berlin removed Israel from its phonebook. A hotel employee had explained the decision saying, “Majority of over clients are Arabs and they told us to remove Israel.”

The local newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung reports:

A guest house in Black Forest has refused to serve guests from Israel and provoked a heated debate. A sternly worded refusal to a group of tourists has exposed the picturesque Mattenhof Zell am Harmersbach to wide-spread  indignation in the internet. In Facebook and Twitter the picturesque Black Forest guest house, that promptly apologised, is being accused of antisemitism. That is a catastrophe for those working in tourism in Black Forest — after all, the business is booming with guests from Israel. Each year more and more tourists come to the South-West [Black Forest region].

“We Don’t want have Guests from Israel,” responded Mattenhof, in broken English, to a query send by several families over an online booking platform. The second sentence reads, “because our appartments are Not for them.” [Author’s translation; Typos as in the original text]

The reaction on social media prompted the Netherlands-based hotel booking website to block the Black Forest guest house. The city of Zell am Harmersbach has also removed the establishment from its hotel listings.

According to German authorities, nearly 1,400 anti-Semitic hate crimes were registered in 2015. German MP Volker Beck had accused the authorities of under-reporting antisemitic crimes in order to hide the real extent of Antisemitism in Germany. Incidents targeting Israel or Israelis are often not counted as anti-Semitic crimes.

In 2014, when 3 Palestinians were arrested for fire-bombing a synagogue in the Western German city of Wuppertal, the trial court refused to see any antisemitic motives behind the crime and the arsonists walked free from court on probation. The judge regarded the crime merely as an attempt to “call attention” to the Gaza Conflict between Israel and the terrorist outfit Hamas.

Mass-migration from Arab and Muslim countries only compounds Antisemitism in Germany. Head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster has been warning about the safety of Germany’s tiny Jewish community in the wake of uncontrolled migration. “Many refugees are fleeing the terror of the Islamic State and want to live in peace and freedom, but at the same time they come from cultures in which hate towards Jews and intolerance are fixed components. Don’t only think about the Jews, think about equal rights for women and the treatment of homosexuals,” Schuster said in November 2015.

European history teaches us that Jews are the proverbial canary in the continental coal mine. Like the dying canary warned the miners of rising toxicity, Antisemitism has always a reliable indicator of cultural decay and impending disasters in Europe. Resurfacing of Antisemitism in the heart Europe should concern us who care about the future of the Western Civilisation.

[Author is an Indian analyst based in Germany]

[Cover image: Goethe-Institut, YouTube]