Monday, July 20, 2015

Germany: Antisemitism is at home in the middle of society, says Jewish leader

Interview with Josef Schuster, Chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany:

 Would you say that the nature of anti-Semitism has changed over the years?

Yes, it has changed. Even if we set aside the new anti-Semitism of Arab immigrant families, it's today striking that we have an anti-Semitism that is at home not only with political extremists, but also in the middle of society. It often tends to take the guise of anti-Zionism. This is nothing new, but today, many are willing to say what they may already have long thought, but had not dared to utter.

 In this education work, how do you convey the distinction between anti-Semitism and criticism of the government in Israel?

That's not difficult. The fact is, objective criticism of Israeli policies is absolutely legitimate. In a democracy, there is freedom of expression. That also means criticism, and criticism of the Israeli government also exists in Israel itself.

But if this criticism is used to immediately tar all Jews in the world, then that goes beyond what I mean by an objective criticism of Israeli policy. When we experience that the Central Council is blamed for Israeli policies, you have to say clearly: Here German citizens are being held responsible for things that are happening in another country.

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