No place for anti-Semitism

The incidents caused dismay: Anti-Semitic slogans were chanted during demonstrations by Arab groups. The German Federal Minister of the Interior calls for a Federal Anti-Semitism Officer to be appointed.

German Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière
German Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière dpa

Berlin (dpa) – Following anti-Israel demonstrations in Berlin, German Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière has advocated the Federal government appointing an Anti-Semitism Officer. “Not only in light of the recent incidents, I believe it important to appoint an Anti-Semitism Officer,” de Maizière told the newspaper “Bild am Sonntag”. He said that the independent committee of experts attached to the Federal Ministry of the Interior had also recommended this. “Every offence motivated by anti-Semitism is one too many and a disgrace to the country,” he continued.

The minister went on to say that the increase in disparaging remarks and discriminating behaviour towards Jewish citizens was likewise a problem. “Anti-Semitism must never be allowed to spread again in Germany.” De Maizière added that “we cannot tolerate the flags of another country being publicly burned. That amounts to the symbolic destruction of a country’s right to exist. Wherever possible, the police should intervene.” Burning the official flag of an embassy is a punishable offence in Germany.

On Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior said that it was for the incoming government to decide to which ministry the Anti-Semitism Officer should be attached.

One week ago, during demonstrations by Arab groups in Berlin, Israeli flags were burned and anti-Semitic slogans chanted. The pro-Palestinian demonstrations were triggered by President Donald Trump’s announcement that the USA was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.

We must prevent such outbursts of hatred being celebrated on our streets.

Federal Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen

Federal Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen told the Funke media group: “I find it intolerable that Israeli flags have been burned in Germany. We must prevent such outbursts of hatred being celebrated on our streets.” Von der Leyen went on to say that such actions must “be opposed by all the means available under the rule of law.”

The Israeli Ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, supported the call for a general prohibition on the public burning of foreign flags in Germany. “It is anti-democratic and in the case of Israel can even be very anti-Semitic,” the 62-year-old told Deutsche Presse-Agentur. “And that is something that I don’t want to see in Europe and certainly not in Berlin.” To date, something similar has only happened in places like Tehran, the capital of Iran, he said, “where there is no tolerance.”

Muslims against anti-Semitism

The Central Council of Jews in Germany appealed to Muslim associations to act more strongly to counter anti-Semitic tendencies in mosque communities. “Representatives of the Muslim communities have definitely taken a stand against anti-Semitism,” the Central Council’s President Josef Schuster told the newspaper “Die Welt”. The problem, he continued, is that the Muslim associations usually only manage to reach a small portion of the mosque communities.

“And we are sadly forced to see that in many of these mosque communities not only are no steps taken to stop anti-Semitism, but on the contrary reservations against Jews and Israel are disseminated and imams actually preach them.” Schuster demands that “Muslim associations must simply intervene resolutely and make it clear what code of values obtains in Germany and that the code is a binding precondition for everyone who wants to live here.”

Source: dpa; translation: