When a synagogue is attacked in Germany, it is doubly disturbing. It has more gravity attached to it than if it occurs elsewhere. Similarly, when the genocidal Iranian regime official, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Hossein Salami, threatens to “wipe the sinister Zionist regime off the map,” and German Chancellor Angela Merkel seems to see it as merely “anti-Israel,” but not anti-Semitic, it is particularly worrisome. It was Merkel who said early in her chancellorship that, “Israel’s security is to be a German staatsräson, or “reason of state.”
Last Wednesday, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, a German native, identified as a 27-year old Stephan Balliot, clad in military fatigues, tried to shoot his way into a synagogue in Halle (Eastern Germany) and massacre its Jewish worshippers. In the process, he killed two innocent people. His intention however was clear, kill as many Jews as possible.
The shocking aspect of this event is that it occurred in Germany, formerly Nazi Germany. A people, and a land that created the Holocaust in which Six Million innocent and pious Jews were gassed, burned, forced to dig their own graves, were shot in the head by special killing squads of ordinary Germans, and led by educated Ph.D. holding commanders. The same groups smashed Jewish babies against walls, tearing them away from their mothers. They humiliated women and old men by marching them naked just before murdering them, to the jeers of anti-Semitic crowds. They also bayoneted pregnant women. It was Germany that murdered one and a half million Jewish children with the hope of “wiping out the Jewish race.”
Now, Germany led by Chancellor Merkel is doing business with a similar regime that seeks, in the words of its Ayatollahs and IRGC commander Hossein Salami, “to wipe the Jews off the map.” To Merkel, that is “only” a case of “anti-Israelism,” just as it was to her parents’ generation, a matter of killing Jews as “Communists” and interchangeably as “Capitalists.” Hitler was clear when he spoke to the entire German nation about his intention to “wipe out the Jewish race.”
Anti-Semitism in Germany has had deep historical roots, culminating in racial hatred rather than the former form of religious prejudice. Today however, within western culture’s “political correctness,” anti-Semitism and racism are proscribed. Thus, Europeans in general, and Germans in particular invented subterfuges. One such subterfuge is the canard of anti-Israelism as a way to hide the anti-Semitism behind it. In other words, it is OK to murder Israelis without having to consider them as Jews. Add to that the shameless falsehood that many German anti-Semites hold, that “Israel treats Palestinians like the Nazis treated Jews,” and there is a clear path for neo-anti-Semitism from both the political right and political left, which are aligned with the anti-Semitic Islamic jihadists.
Remko Leemhuis, the acting director of the American Jewish Committee pointed out that, “We have seen a rise in anti-Semitism (in Germany) for years now, we see it across society. And, right now it feels like it’s coming from everywhere.” A survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in 2015 revealed that 16% or over 11 million German adults harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. In terms of age group, 19% of Germans aged 35-49 harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, 17% of those age 50+ share the same attitudes. Christians with anti-Semitic attitudes account for 14% of the adult population, 56% of Muslims harbor anti-Semitic feelings.
The survey also found that 51% of Germans hold the view that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.” 52% of Germans age 50+ believe the previous statement, (including the people who were of age during the Nazi era and the Holocaust), 49% of young people aged 18-34 believe it too, as well as 51% of the intermediate age group 35-49, shared the same view. In terms of religion, 59% of Muslims believe that and 51% of Christians. The same survey showed that 49% of Germans hold the view that “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to any country they live in.”
Anti-Semitism in Germany is pervasive and is found along all ideological, ethnic, and religious groups. The neo-Nazis hate Jews for the same reasons their parents or their civic and church leaders did. Although the Nazis had been defeated, the anti-Semitism that was intrinsic to their ideology has not. Radical leftists on the other side of the spectrum like to excuse their anti-Semitism in terms of hating Israel as the so-called “oppressor of Palestinians.” The Muslim community, and in particular the new migrants from Syria and Iraq, were long indoctrinated by their home media, mosques, and school system, that Jews were evil and must be eradicated. This, coupled with hatred for Israel as their enemy, makes them the most potent group to commit violence against Jews. Germans, as a whole, do not want to be reminded of the burden of being the “murderers of Jews during the Holocaust.” Thus, many young Germans find comfort in comparing Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews to the alleged treatment of Palestinian-Arabs by Israel. Simply put, Germans “care for Palestinians” only to assuage their guilt.
The public schools in Germany are experiencing a great deal of anti-Semitism, particularly with the influx of immigrants from the Middle East. Native Germans however, were not taught about the horrors of the Holocaust, nor its Nazi German perpetrators. This reporter was reminded by a German friend of that fact decades ago. While Germany had restored synagogues and built memorials to the victims of the Holocaust, for many of mainstream, middle-class Germans, it meant that: “We’ve done it. We dealt with anti-Semitism.” But nobody really dealt with it within the families. The painful questions were never asked. Today, Muslim students who torment their Jewish classmates are acting in an environment that was already suffused with native anti-Semitism.
In a 2018 European Union survey of Jews, 85% of respondents in Germany characterized anti-Semitism as a “very big” or “fairly big” problem; 89% said the problem has become worse in the last five years. Overall, reported anti-Semitic crimes in Germany increased by nearly 20% last year to 1,799, while violent anti-Semitic crimes rose by about 86%, to 69.
Ironically, while Chancellor Merkel minimizes Iran’s genocidal threat to the Jewish state, in order to curry favor with the murderous Ayatollahs regime, the rightist Alternative for Germany (AfG) parliamentarian, Beatrix von Storch, accused Germany’s United Nations ambassador of “relativizing” and “trivializing” the threat Israel faces from Hamas.
Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of the Jewish communities in Germany, cautioned in an interview with the mass circulation German daily Die Welt, that, “Many of the refugees are fleeing the terror of the Islamic State and want to live in peace and freedom, but at the same time, they come from countries in which hatred of Jews and intolerance are an integral part.”
Merkel has failed in her declaration that “Israel’s security is Germany’s state reason for being.” Nonsense, for Merkel and other German and European politicians, greed trumps morality. Dealing with Iran and defending the Islamic Republic’s interests overrides concern for the lives of Israeli Jews. Similarly, the appointing of an anti-Semitism Commissioner did little to counter the damage done by the importation of Jew-hating Muslim migrants from the Middle East. In the final analysis, it has made Merkel’s concerns about anti-Semitism in Germany a merely rhetorical gesture.