"It's a disgrace"

Merkel voices shame at racism and anti-Semitism in Germany. 

Zentralrat der Juden feiert 70 Jahre
dpa

Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced on Tuesday her deep shame at attacks on the Jewish community in Germany.

 

"It is a disgrace and it makes me deeply ashamed that racism and anti-Semitism is expressed in our country in these times," Merkel said on Tuesday at an event marking 70 years since the Central Council of Jews in Germany was founded.

 

Racism and anti-Semitism never went away, she said. "But for some time they have been becoming more visible and more bold."

 

Merkel condemned recent extremist attacks on Jews, including the failed attempt by an armed attacker to storm a synagogue in the city of Halle on Yom Kippur in October 2019.

 

But she also took aim at the prevalence of hate speech and conspiracy theories in modern society.

 

"On social media, many comments ooze with hate and harassment. We must never be silent on this," the German leader said, adding that hateful words can lead to hateful deeds.

 

The Central Council of Jews in Germany was founded in Frankfurt on July 19, 1950. It represents the interests of 23 regional associations and 105 Jewish communities with around 100,000 members.

 

Germany has recently seen a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the country, most recently at protests against coronavirus restrictions, which have been partially fuelled by conspiracy theories about a nefarious global elite and have also attracted support from right-wing extremists.