Last month, a woman was attacked in Bavaria for being Jewish. A man heard her two sons speaking Hebrew and recognized them as being Israeli. He then yelled in Arabic “Jew” and threw a rock, striking the woman in the head. Fortunately, the woman was only lightly injured.
A similar incident occurred before a discotheque in Germany. A man was speaking Hebrew with friends when a stranger, for no apparent reason, punched him in the face. The attacker fled.
“On the continent things are happening we haven’t seen any more since 1933,” said Berlin lawyer Nathan Gelbert before a committee of the Israeli parliament in a special sitting, as reported in Die Welt newspaper.
According to a study by the World Jewish Congress (WJC), which represents a hundred countries, “every fourth German harbors…anti-Semitic thoughts.” But the study does not break down by ethnic group or religion those who think thus.
In July last summer, the study polled 1,300 people. Other results include 41 per cent think Jews talk too much about the holocaust, 28 per cent believe Jews have too much power in the economy, 26 per cent believe they have too much power in world politics and 48 per cent believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than to Germany.
According to the study, “there is a growing anti-Semitism perceived in the overwhelming majority of the population.”
“Anti-Semitism has reached a crisis point in Germany. It is time all of Germany takes a position and fights anti-Semitism head on,’ says the WJC president.
While police classify the political motives for half of the attacks and expressions of anti-Semitism as unknown, many appear to be coming from the Muslim population.
Such was the case with two attacks against rabbis in Berlin. One, a 55-year-old rabbi, easy to identify as Jewish because of his clothing, was beaten to the ground from behind by four youths police said had Arab backgrounds. He was one of three rabbis attacked within a few weeks.
This rabbi was chairman of an education center and, ironically, a board member of Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism. The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany called it “a vicious attack against Judaism in Germany.”
The other rabbi, a 53-year-old Berliner, was walking along the street with his six-year-old daughter when four youths asked him “Are you a Jew?” And then physically assaulted him. They insulted him, his faith, his mother and made a death threat towards his daughter before leaving. Police believe these attackers were also of Arab background. Both attacks are being investigated as hate crimes.
Anti-Semitism is becoming so prevalent in Berlin that for the first time ever an anti-Semitism official was assigned last September to the city’s prosecutor’s office. There were 1083 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in Berlin the past year, 14 per cent more than the previous year.
“There is a growing and hardening anti-Semitism problem in Berlin,” said the city’s justice minister, Dirk Behrendt.
Anti-Semitic acts in Berlin alone have apparently more than doubled since the last year, Die Welt reports, going up 155 per cent from 18 to 46. And threats increasing 77 per cent from 26 to 46. But these are only the reported ones. Police believe 18 per cent originated from the extreme right and nine per cent from anti-Israeli activists such as leftists.
The attacks are many and are increasing. Such as the one against the woman who went shopping and the shopkeeper saw the Star of David on her key ring. He yelled at her “Piss off, you Jewish slut.” And then moved from behind the counter, causing the woman to flee. Another occurred in a fitness gym in Freiburg where a young man wearing a kippa was attacked from behind, being hit in the head. The attacker tore his kippa off and tried to tear it apart. When he didn’t succeed, he spit in it and threw it in the garbage.
“I was afraid he was going to do me in,” said the young man.
The attacker fled because he knew the police had been called. The victim said he always wears a hat over his kippa going through downtown Berlin where such things as “Free Palestine” and “You are dead” have been yelled at him.
In another incident, in a subway in the early morning, two man started hitting the doors and glass, yelling “Israel must burn. All Jews must burn.” When a man tried to talk to them, he was attacked.
Such developments are making “daily life for those affected particularly difficult….,” according to Die Welt.
Moreover, it is Jewish and Israeli institutions that are most targeted for anti-Semitic attacks. People come in second, according to a report presented by the Information Place for Anti-Semitism Berlin.
There is a large anti-Semitism problem among the Muslim population in Berlin as in other German cities. The Central Council of Jews in Germany has registered “an aggressive mood particularly among Muslims” towards Jews.
“In the large, urban neighborhoods with an overwhelming Muslim population there is already for a long time a serious (anti-Semitic) problem,” states the Amadeu-Antonio Foundation.
One reason for this is that hate-filled, anti-Israeli broadcasts, such as Hezbollah’s, are received via satellite into European living rooms from the Middle East, stating Israel has no right to exist.
According to the German-Arab Center, Muslim hatred of Jews is also passed from the parents to the children.
“The parents follow daily the conflict at home, also if they are living in Germany. They are enraged what’s happening in their homeland. This rage and hate they pass on to their children,” said a Center official.
Such hatred exhibits itself in anti-Semitic slogans at anti-Israel demonstrations. Among the more charming are: Israel, killer of children; Death to Israel; Death to Jews; You Jews are beasts; Jews are pigs; and Jew, Jew cowardly pig. And there are always signs with the Star of David crossed out.
Germany is not viewed by Jews as being an anti-Semitic country. The government, for example, supports Israel and has rebuilt synagogues destroyed by the Nazis such as the main synagogue in Mainz. It was destroyed by the National Socialists in 1938 and rebuilt by the government in 2010 in exactly the same spot.
“New synagogues are a symbol of a trust for Jews in the federal republic,” said Germany’s president at the synagogue’s dedication, while the president of Central Council of Jews in Germany called it a “miracle of a living Judaism in Germany.”
But government officials and police appear to be helpless against Muslim anti-Semitism. Police are often accused of just standing around when demonstrators break the law, yelling hate-filled anti-Semitic slogans.
For this reason, a commentary in Die Welt states it is not possible everywhere in Germany to go to a synagogue waring a kippa on Friday afternoon. At the synagogue, Jews pray behind bullet-proof glass while police stand on guard outside.
“Europe is overrun by anti-Semitism,” said the owner of a security firm that sends Israeli ex-soldiers to protect Jewish institutions in Germany… “I sometimes have the feeling that we find ourselves shortly before a new pogrom.”
One Berlin synagogue member perhaps summed up the situation of Jews best when he stated:
“Seventy years after the Holocaust we are living again behind ghetto walls; and indeed not to lock us up, but in order to protect us.”