German police launched an investigation into an antisemitic attack after a video of the incident surfaced on the internet today. On Monday evening, a group of Arabic speaking men verbally insulted two youth wearing kippa, the traditional Jewish skullcap. One of the attackers can be seen using a belt to attack the victim while screaming insults in Arabic. Media reports later identified at least one of the victims as an Israeli Arab “who didn’t believe Germany was antisemitic.” He told German broadcaster DW News that it was a gift from a Jewis friend who warned him against wearing it in Germany out of safety concerns. “It was an experience for me to wear the kippa yesterday and go out,” he added.

The Central Council of Jews, the umbrella organization of Jewish communities in Germany, had previously warned German Jews against wearing religious head coverings.

“It’s increasingly problematic to wear a Kippa in public,” said Josef Schuster, the head of the Central Council of Jews, in response to Monday’s attack. “I hope video helps authorities apprehend attackers and expect them to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” he added.

The incident was brought to light by Germany’s Jewish Forum for Democracy and against Antisemitism (JFDA). The daily newspaper DER TAGESSPIEGEL covered the details:

According to Jewish Forum for Democracy and against Antisemitism (JFDA), two young men wearing kippa were attacked by man shouting in Arabic in [Berlin’s] Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood. The police confirmed the incident on Wednesday and the State Protection agency is looking into the case. The attackers managed to flee the scene.

A young man–part of a group of three–attacked a 21-year-old Israeli with a belt. He shouted ‘Yahudi,’ Arabic word for ‘Jew,’ a term increasingly being used in Berlin as an insult.

The victims were able to produce a shaky mobile video. The clip is available on the internet. [One of the] victim posted the video on a Facebook group, the JFDA confirmed. The clip shows how the screaming man beats the Jewish youth with the belt and repeatedly calls him ‘Yahudi.’ [Translation by the author]

The attack took place amid reports of growing Muslim antisemitism in Berlin. German media uncovered several incidents of antisemitic bullying at Berlin schools in recent months. “Religious motivated mobbing” carried out exclusively by Muslim students was “widely prevalent at Berlin schools,” reported the German language newspaper DER TAGESSPIEGEL on March 27, 2017. “This is not an isolated case,” said Marina Chernivsky, the head of a Berlin-based anti-Semitic watchdog, responding to reports of Muslim antisemitic bullying last month. “We are not surprised by it. Such cases occur practically every week.”

Jewish community leaders like Schuster have been warning about rising antisemitism within Germany’s growing immigrant Muslim population for some time now. “Apparently, Muslim circles have turned their focus on Jews. But non-Jews shouldn’t consider themselves lucky, or lean back and relax. I fear other minorities could soon be targeted as well,” Schuster told German reporters last month.

In recent years, migrant gangs have repeatedly attacked Jews on the streets of Berlin. Jews, however, are not the only group in the crosshairs of these gangs. Last summer, a man was attacked for wearing a crucifix in public. The assailants were described by the victim as ‘North African.’  According to an article published by the German newspaper DIE WELT at the time of the incident, German law enforcement was “not keeping a systematic record” of hate crimes against Christians in Germany.

With unregulated migration from Arab and Muslim countries in the wake of the ongoing Migrant Crisis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel staying the course on her open door policy for ‘refugees,’ Germany is witnessing the re-emergence of antisemitism in its midst. If history is any guide, Germany should act to stamp out this evil, if not to protect its tiny and dwindling Jewish community, for its own sake.

[UPDATE: We had initially described the victims of the assault as being Jewish, inferring that from the local media coverage. Subsequently, a report by German public broadcaster DW News identified at least one of the victims as an Arab Israeli. We have updated the post following this revelation.]

[Cover image via YouTube]


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