“I can’t advise Jews to wear kippah at all times and everywhere in Germany”
The German government’s commissioner for Antisemitism has warned Jews living in Germany against wearing Kippah, or the Jewish skullcap, in public. “I can’t advise Jews to wear Kippah at all times and everywhere in Germany. I have to say this with regret,” Felix Klein, who heads the German government’s Antisemitism office, told German newspaper group Funke.
The German official’s remarks come amid a sharp rise in violent antisemitic attacks across the country. He blamed far-right groups for carrying out most of the attacks, but admitted that Muslims were among the culprits too. Pinning the blame on Arabic language media for inciting Jews-hatred among German Muslims, he added that “many of them watched TV networks that presented a reprehensible image of Israel and the Jews.”
The remarks come just weeks after Germany’s domestic spy agency warned of growing Muslim Antisemitism in the country. “Muslim Antisemitism poses a significant threat to German society,” the intelligence assessment said.
German newspaper Die Welt reported:
“I can’t advise Jews to wear Kippah at all times and everywhere in Germany,” Felix Klein told the Funke regional press group. He “regretted changing his previously held” opinion in this regard.
The reason was “the lifting of inhibitions and the uncouthness which is on the rise in society,” that was becoming the breeding ground for Antisemitism. Around 90 percent of the crimes were committed by right-wing radicals, he said. In case of Muslim perpetrators, it is mostly those who have been residing in German for a long time. “Many of them watched TV networks that presented a reprehensible image of Israel and the Jews.”
In light of sharp increase in antisemitic crimes in Germany, Klein demanded training for police officers and other civil servants. There is “a lot of uncertainty among the policemen and government employees when it comes to dealing with Antisemitism,” he said. Many don’t know “what’s allowed and what’s not.” There isn’t any clear definition of Antisemitism, and that must be taught in police academies. “Equally important was the training of teachers and judges,” the Antisemitism commissioner said. [Translation by the author]
Germany’s Antisemitism commissioner is not the only one to suggest such drastic measures. Rabbis in several German cities have urged Jewish congregations to hide their religious identity in public to avoid harassment and assaults. an estimated 70 percent of German Jews have stopped wearing Kippah and other religious symbols to avoid antisemitic attacks, according to German media reports.
Hate crimes against Jews “rose from 1,504 in 2017 to 1,799 last year, an increase of 19.6%,” German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported last week, citing statistics released by the German Interior Ministry. The situation is even worse in Germany’s capital Berlin, where antisemitic attacks rose by 155 percent in 2018, compared to the previous year, data collected by Berlin-based Research and Information Center for Antisemitism (RIAS) showed. Notably, hate crimes against Muslims receded during the same period, official figures indicated.
Meanwhile, the German authorities and the political class are exerting enormous effort to downplay surging Muslim Antisemitism. When Muslim demonstrators chanted “death to Jews” in Berlin in response to the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to address Muslim Antisemitism. She merely condemned “all forms of Antisemitism and xenophobia.”
A recent German government study concluded that Antisemitism among German Muslims was a result of ‘Islamophobia’ they experience in the country. “Many Muslims justify their own Antisemitism and misanthropic attitudes with the fact ‘that they feel devalued and discriminated’ by growing Islamophobia,” Die Welt reported citing a study by the Federal Agency for Civic Education, or BPB.
The Antisemitism commissioner’s latest statement is an admission of defeat by the German state in the face of rising Jew hatred. It is also a scathing indictment of post-war Germany, where Jews are again being harassed and assaulted for no other crime than being Jewish, a mere seven decades after the Holocaust.
Video: Antisemitism on the rise in Germany
[Cover image via YouTube]
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