German Chancellor Speaks Boldly Against Anti-Semitism





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by Jean Homer
September 16, 2014

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, spoke strongly against anti-Semitism in her country at a Brandenburg Gate rally on Sunday, September 14. She stated, “That people in Germany are threatened and abused because of their Jewish appearance or their support for Israel is an outrageous scandal that we won’t accept…It’s our national and civic duty to fight anti-Semitism.”

With clarity and conviction, Mrs. Merkel continued:

“Anyone who hits someone wearing a skullcap [kipa] is hitting us all. Anyone who damages a Jewish gravestone is disgracing our culture. Anyone who attacks a synagogue is attacking the foundations of our free society.”

Barely 30,000 Jewish people lived in Germany following the Holocaust, where over a half million lived prior to 1933. Merkel celebrated the renewal of the German Jewish community since the Holocaust. “That far more than 100,000 Jews are now living in Germany is something of a miracle. It’s a gift and it fills me with a deepest gratitude.”

She continued, “Jewish life is part of our identity and culture. It hurts me when I hear that young Jewish parents are asking if it’s safe to raise their children here or elderly ask if it was right to stay here…We want Jews to feel safe in Germany, they should feel that this country is our common home, in which they like all people who live here have a good future.”

German government data indicates that there were more reported anti-Semitic incidents in June and July 2014 with 184, compared to the prior three–month period with 159 incidents. The Gaza-Israeli conflict and continuous anti-Israel international media coverage coincided with a sharp rise in reported attacks on Jewish people, not only in Germany, but worldwide. Mrs Merkel indicated that absolutely every Jewish institution in Germany currently requires police protection.

She addressed when hatred hides behind freedom of expression, “The legitimate criticism of the political actions of a government–be it ours or of the state of Israel–is fine. But if it is only used as a cloak for one’s hatred against other people, hatred for Jewish people, then it is a misuse of our basic rights of freedom of opinion and assembly.”

According to the London Daily Mail, Dieter Graumann, a Jewish community leader stated that he had observed this summer, “the worst anti-Semitic slogans on German streets for many, many decades.” He continued, “We won’t let ourselves be intimidated. But we would have liked a bit more empathy in the last few weeks. Many of us still come from Holocaust families …how do you think we feel when we hear on German streets today, ‘Jews to the gas?’”

The Brandenburg Gate rally, “Stand Up: Jew Hatred–Never Again!” was organized by the Jewish community. German President Joachim Gauck, Germany’s top Protestant and Catholic clerics along with Muslim community leaders joined Chancellor Merkel at the rally. According to BBC World News, “thousands” attended the rally.