Antisemitism is the oldest hatred and the most pernicious. It exists even in places where there are no Jews. In Europe, antisemitism has been an instrument to scapegoat the Jews. Germany, the nation that perpetrated the Holocaust and is directly responsible for the murder of Six Million Jews, continues to exhibit its endemic antisemitic tendencies. The Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism (RIAS) has documented 2,480 incidents of antisemitic attacks in 2022, or about seven incidents daily. Much like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in the USA, RIAS tends to find antisemitism mostly in right-wing circles and tends to minimize left-wing and Islamist manifestations of antisemitism. Since the 2015 influx of Muslim immigrants into Germany, anti-Jewish acts of violence and abuse have gone up exponentially. In 2019, for example, the German government documented 2,032 antisemitic incidents. Germany has absorbed about 1.5 million migrants, the overwhelming majority being from Arab-Muslim countries.
In Western Germany last November, there was a violent incident of shooting at a rabbi’s house next to his synagogue in the city of Essen. German federal prosecutors are still investigating this incident along with two other violent antisemitic crime cases likely to have been carried out by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), with the aid of local collaborators. Most incidents occur essentially in everyday situations in which Jews are confronted with antisemitism. Such incidents take place anywhere from work to home, in public transport, at the supermarket, or at a concert. Often, it includes remarks that trivialize the Holocaust.
Most German Jews have a direct connection to the Holocaust. A large portion of the Jews in Germany are from the former Soviet Union, and many of their relatives were murdered by the Nazi Germans and their helpers. There is also a community of Israelis whose relatives, likewise, suffered at the hands of the Nazis. The native Jews of Germany, who returned after WWII or survived the camps, were similarly victimized.
A survey by the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation published on July 25, 2023, concluded that “Increased support (for antisemitism) is found among people with low levels of formal education, among people with a Muslim faith and/or immigrant backgrounds, and within AfD (Alternatives for Germany) party supporters. People with left-wing and right-wing extremist attitudes show antisemitic attitudes significantly more often. Conspiracy beliefs and classical antisemitism are often linked. People who believe in the existence of secret powers agree more than average with the antisemitic prejudice that “rich Jews are the real rulers of the world.” According to the Foundation’s research, more than a quarter of the Muslims residing in Germany believe that “Jews rule the world.” Muslims were three or four times more likely to embrace antisemitic ideology than the wider population. Dominik Hirndorf, who coordinated the survey, pointed out that the answers to the question on violence demonstrated that potential threats should not be underestimated. He added, “Every percentage point is too many…”
Most Muslims in Germany are peaceful and law-abiding. However, a significant proportion of the Syrian migrants who poured into Germany since 2015 have been radicalized by the anti-Israel and anti-Zionist animus disseminated by the Assad regime. This inculcated hatred has bled into antisemitism. Many of these Muslims have joined fundamentalist Islamic organizations, which conflate European Jews with Israel. As a reaction to the influx of Muslim migrants into Germany, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party has become the third largest party in Germany’s parliament – the Bundestag. A portion of their voters come from the lower middle class, with lower educational levels, and whose affinity with the Nazi past is strong. AfD leaders such as founder Alexander Gauland, dismissed the Nazi era as a “speck of bird poop in more than 1,000 years of successful German history.” Another leader, Bjorn Hoecke, suggested that Germany should no longer atone for its Nazi past. The Frankfurter Allgemeine reported on January 18, 2017, that Hoecke, in a Dresden speech stated that “We Germans are the only people in the world who have planted a memorial of shame (Holocaust memorial-JP) in the heart of their capital.” While some in the AfD party are latent Nazis and antisemites, the party is strongly pro-Israel.
The AfD Party happens to be a positive development in German politics, except for some of the antisemitism in its ranks, which the party in recent years has sought to remove. On many issues, however, and particularly with regards to the open-door immigration policy of the Merkel government, many Germans and Jews in Germany were in total agreement with the AfD.
The Arab-Muslim migrants in Germany pose a serious threat to the Jewish Community in Germany, and the Jewish leadership in Germany has acknowledged that. Still, when you have a native German who attempted to kill Jews during services in a Halle Synagogue, there is a problem. Unfortunately, some skinheads and neo-Nazis have been associated with AfD. The left-wing media in Germany, just like its counterpart in the US, would blame every evil manifestation, and virtually all antisemitic acts in Germany on the AfD, or “right-wing extremists.”
The Left in Germany for its part, is actually excusing the violence perpetrated by the Muslim migrants, and the Red-Green (Leftist radicals and Muslim radical) alliance is dangerously anti-Israel and anti-Jewish.
Last May, a German court in the north German town of Ploen, acquitted a Thai-German microbiologist named Sucharit Bhakdi of incitement to hatred for comments he made about Jews and Israel. The Court resolved that the comments, including the statement that described Israel as “worse than Nazi Germany,” did not amount to spreading antisemitic hatred toward Jews. He merely criticized the Israeli government and its policies. In a 2021 video published online, Bhakdi said that “the terrible thing about Jews is: they learn well,” and he described Israel as a “living hell.” The Court concluded, however, that it couldn’t determine without reasonable doubt that Bhakdi had been spreading antisemitic hatred. Yet, under the definition of antisemitism established by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), a slightly edited version of the original European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). The EUMC was subsequently replaced by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), which resolved that antisemitism includes drawing analogies to the Nazis (as Bhakdi did), declaring Israel to be a racist, and thus an illegitimate endeavor, holding it to standards expected of no other democratic state, and holding Jews collectively responsible for Israel’s actions.
No amount of German Euros paid in reparations can erase the memory of the most heinous crimes in history, committed during the Holocaust against the Jewish people by the Nazis in the name of the German people.
Although most European countries are guilty of the persecution of Jews through the ages, Germany stands out as the one nation that sought under Hitler to erase an entire people. The German Jews made vast contributions to Germany. A large portion of Germany’s Nobel Prize winners have been Jews. And the Jews were never the enemies of Germany. Still, Germans murdered two-thirds of Europe’s Jews. The fact that antisemitism and Jew hatred is a rising phenomenon in Germany is a badge of shame for its people.