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Public reaction demanded against increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes

In 2017 for France the same as for Germany there were 1500 hate crimes reported to the police and by the German capital’s police in 2017 there were recorded 288 crimes classified as anti-Semitic. This is for Berlin slightly less than double the 149 crimes recorded in 2013.

In Germany police believe there is a correlation linking the increase of anti-Semitic crimes to the increased number of migrants from the Middle East living in the city.
Around 200,000 Jews live in Germany, most of them immigrants from the former Soviet Union. That’s fewer than half of the 500,000 Jews who lived in the country before the Holocaust.

A report conducted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) of 21 schools in Berlin shows the level of anti-Semitism is growing among the primarily Turkish and Arab Muslim pupils. The group also found a disturbing rise in support for radical Islamismaccording to German broadcaster RBB. Though the AJC claims the study does not reflect all Berlin schools, they note a worrying trend of anti-Semitism in those they did examine.

Aaron Eckstaedt, director of the Jewish Berlin Moses Mendelsson senior school, said he sees at least six to ten students per year who have transferred from other schools due to abuse from Muslim students.

German Jews Advised Not to Wear Kippahs in Big Cities as Assaults Rise

This months anti-Semitic incidents in Berlin have made headlines recently, being it the straw that breaks the camel’s back. In one particular case, a young Jewish boy was forced to transfer to a different school because of abuse directed at him from primarily Muslim students. The Central Council of Jews in Germany demanded already in 2017 answers from school administrators in Berlin regarding the cases of Jewish boys who were severely bullied by Muslim students. President of the council Josef Schuster this year came to say on broadcaster Radio Eins that wearing a kippa is right in principle but increasingly dangerous in practice, so he is advised individuals

“against showing themselves openly with a kippah in a big-city setting in Germany, and wear a baseball cap or something else to cover their head instead.”

This may look like a wise advise, but it is covering the problem and not bringing the problem into the general public. Schuster added that

“our democracy would be at risk”

if Germany does not fight anti-Semitism.

“This is not only about anti-Semitism — it goes along with racism, it goes along with xenophobia. You need a clear stop sign here.”

In the European Union we for sure need a huge “Stop sign”. All the cries not to show religious symbols in public and the prohibition to wear religious symbols or to be clothed according the faith brings our religious freedom in danger. The last few months, or better the last year, we see that more and more people try to limit people and to restrict their freedom of religious expression.

In Germany the call for Jews to hide signs of their faith follows the assault of Adam Armoush, a 21-year-old Israeli Arab who was violently attacked by a 19-year-old Muslim refugee in Berlin capital Tuesday April 17.

Adam Armoush revealed that he was an Arab-Israeli who wanted to find out whether it was safe to walk in the street dressed as a Jew. He said he wore a skullcap as an experiment after not believing an Israeli friend who told him it’s too risky to wear one in public in Germany.

“I’m not Jewish, I’m an Israeli, I grew up in Israel in an Arab family,”

Armoush told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle Television channel (DWTV).

“I was saying it’s really safe and I wanted to prove it, but it ended like that.”

The video of Armoush being whipped with a belt while his attacker cries out “Yahudi!” or “Jew” in Arabic quickly went viral. Berlin police identified the attacker as a Palestinian from Syria named Knaan S. who was registered at a refugee home in Brandenburg state outside Berlin, but who most recently was living “out of a suitcase” in the capital.

Before this kippa experiment, there had been an other kippa experiment in München which looked not so negative. Terry Swartzberg had started a Kippa experiment when he came from a funeral. Whether Munich Marienplatz or Gretel’s vegetable market – without his kippa, the headgear that identifies him clearly as a Jew, he is no longer out of the house.

“You’re crazy, Terry,”

his friends warned him.

“You will be threatened, you will feel the anti-Semitism of the people.”

Should they be right?

He seemed to be treated nicely, treated like a normal person. He recognises there are many anti-Semites in Germany, which inwardly hate him and his Jewish brethren, more so if he wears the kippa. He thought they would not harm him because he considered Germany as a peaceful country. He is right to think that if everyone or lots more people wore the kippa or the star of David the sense of latent threat would vanish.

Tzitzis Shot.JPG
Tzitzit specially knotted ritual fringes, or tassels, worn by observant Jews and Samaritans.

Other experiments did not turn out so nicely. Have a look at what NRG’s correspondent, wearing a tzitzit and a kippa endured. He in 2015 already had taken what proved to be an intimidating walk across the French capital.

“What is he doing here Mommy? Doesn’t he know he will be killed?”

one little boy asked, saying it all.

At that time soldiers were walking every street that houses a Jewish institution, and where keffiyeh-wearing men and veiled women spoke Arabic on every street corner. Walking down one Parisian suburb, he was asked what he was doing there. In modern-day Paris, you see, Jews are barred from entering certain areas.  Since 2015 it has worsened.

In Germany’s capital this month two attacks triggered reaction by different Germans who found this anti-Semitism must come to an end and our communities may not allow such racism.

On several TV-channels throughout Europe lots of people could see one of three suspects hurling verbal abuse and striking one of the victims with his belt. The assaulting refugee who received asylum in Germany seemed not to understand we love to live in a world where everybody should live in peace together no matter which religion he wants to be associated with. He yells “Yahudi!” (the word “Jew” in Arabic). Speaking to Deutsche Welle TV, one of the victims — Adam from Israel — said that he and his companion had tried to no avail to ignore the attackers.

“One of them got real aggressive and ran to me with his belt,”

Adam said.

“At that moment I realized I have to take a video of it. I wanted to have evidence for police and the German people and the world to see how terrible it is these days as a Jew to go through Berlin streets.”

Adam said that he is an Israeli who grew up in Arab family in Israel and is not, in fact, Jewish. He said the kippa, the traditional Jewish head covering, he wore was a gift from a friend who told him it was “unsafe” to wear out in the open.

“It was an experience for me to wear the kippa yesterday and go out,”

Adam said, adding that of fifty people on the street at the time, only one woman had volunteered help. But he said he had received lots of support from police and on social media. https://twitter.com/JFDA_eV/status/98… — The video went viral and immediately sent alarm bells ringing in Germany’s Jewish community.

Community leaders have been complaining for some time now that anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise.

“This is part of series,”

Josef Schuster, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told Deutsche Welle.

“Three years ago I warned against going into Arab areas of big cities with a kippa on,”

he said.

“Now we’re seeing an incident in a trendy, well-heeled neighborhood. That represents a new dimension.”

Schuster added that he hoped that the video would help police apprehend the attackers and said he expects them to be punished to the full extent of the law. Police say they are investigating.

 

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Although the German government says that most anti-Semitism comes from right-wing extremist groups, Jewish groups have complained that it is on the rise in parts of the Muslim community as well.

“Unfortunately we see an increase in these kinds of cases,”

the German government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein, told DWTV.

“1,500 anti-Semitic attacks are registered by police every year.”

The video was first published by Germany’s Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism (JFDA). JFDA representative Levi Salomon called the attack “intolerable,” adding that the attack showed that Jews were not safe even in affluent areas of Berlin.

“Now it’s up to politicians and civil society,”

Salomon said in a statement.

“We don’t need any more sermons, something needs to be done.”

A visitor with with a Star of David and the words 'Against Hatred Toward Jews' written on her hands attends a rally against anti-Semitism on September 14, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. With the slogan 'Stand Up! Never Again Hatred Towards Jews' ('Steh auf! Nie wieder Judenhass'), the Central Council of Jews in Germany (Zentralrat der Juden) organized the demonstration after anti-Semitic incidents in the country occurring in the wake of the conflict in Gaza this summer, in which more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli government, the majority of whom were civilians, according to Palestinian authorities. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
Against Hatred Toward Jews

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that anti-Semitic incidents had to be combatted with “firmness and determination.” Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, told DW that he was “very disturbed” by the scenes depicted in the video.

Germany sees the problem and in January the German government appointed a special commissioner to address it. Although the commissioner’s powers are yet to be defined, the Central Council of Jews welcomed the move, calling it an important signal that their concerns were being addressed.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted that

“Jews shall never again feel threatened here.”

“It’s our responsibility to protect Jewish life here,”

he wrote.

Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller also condemned the attack.

“I denounce this renewed anti-Semitic attack in the sharpest terms,”

Mueller said.

“Anti-Semitism doesn’t belong to the Berlin we want to live in.”

A day after Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, warned against Jewish men wearing a kippa (skullcap) in public, demonstrators last Wednesday wore the head covering in a gesture of solidarity.

The largest event took place in Berlin, with other demonstrations held across the country in Erfurt, Potsdam and Cologne — with people of different faiths coming together.

The demonstrations took place at a time where there is growing concern over the influence of the far-right AfD (Alternative for Germany) party, the largest opposition in Parliament. Though AfD claims not to be a neo-Nazi party at some points it looks very similar very right wing. Standing on an anti-immigration, anti-Islam platform, it won 12.6% of the vote, a result described by leading party figures as a “political earthquake.”

But the AfD has also courted controversy within the Jewish community, most notoriously when Björn Höcke, former leader of the party in the eastern state of Thuringia, was expelled after condemning the presence of a Holocaust memorial in the city of Berlin while urging Germany to stop atoning for its Nazi war crimes.

While the AfD has sought to position itself as friendly toward the Jewish community — a senior member told Reuters it has warned of anti-Semitism by Muslims — many are not convinced.

Jews in Germany, France and Belgium are faced with a resurgent far right as well as a new kind of anti-Semitism that is the result of immigration from the Arab world.

Marcel Dirsus, political scientist at the University of Kiel, told CNN

“Anti-Semitism did not need to be imported into Germany — it was always there,”

“But now Jews in Germany are faced with a resurgent far right as well as a new kind of anti-Semitism that is the result of immigration from the Arab world.

“Some opponents of Merkel’s refugee policy are using a string of recent anti-Semitic incidents to attack her stance. Some supporters of her open-door policy deny that immigration from Muslim majority countries and a surge in anti-semitism are at all related.

“Germany needs to make that Jews can feel safe in Berlin, Hamburg or Munich. To do so, Germans will need to make tough choices,”

Dirsus said.

Participants wearing a kippah during a “wear a kippah” gathering to protest against anti-Semitism in front of the Jewish Community House on April 25, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. The Jewish community made a public appeal for Jews and non-Jews to attend the event and wear a kippah as a show of solidarity. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
Activists holding a sign with the word Shalom on it attend a “wear a kippah” gathering to protest against anti-Semitism in front of Cologne Cathedral or Koelner Dom on April 25, 2018 in Cologne, Germany (Michael Gottschalk/Getty Images).
Participants wearing a kippah during a “wear a kippah” gathering to protest against anti-Semitism in front of the Jewish Community House on April 25, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

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Additional reading

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  2. Religious Practices around the world
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  5. 2014 European elections
  6. At the closing hours of 2016 #2 Low but also highlights
  7. Anti-Semitic pressure driving Jews out of Europe
  8. Who is a Jew?
  9. Jews In France Ponder Whether To Stay Or To Leave
  10. Beginning of weeks for the Feasts of deliverance
  11. Preparing for the most important weekend of the year 2018
  12. Added commentary to the posting A Progressive Call to Arms
  13. Christian fundamentalists feeding Into the Toxic Partisanship and driving countries into the Dark Ages… #1
  14. Signs of the times – “An object of scorn and ridicule”
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