Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Germany: Jewish teachers face Muslim student antisemitism on their own

Via Deutschlandradio Kultur:

Deutschlandradio Kultur spoke with Jewish teachers about their experiences in German schools with a high Muslim population.

Jael, who teaches at a high-school in northern Germany: Jew is used as a curse, like 'gay'.  In the sense that you're dishonest, despicable, ugly.  He never told his students that he's Jewish.

Once a student from Afghanistan told him: if I see a Jew, I'd kill him immediately.  He was a good student who wanted to be a doctor and go to Syria.

Jael says he got no support from colleagues or the school administration.  When he reported antisemitic incidents he was told they don't want to make a big deal out of it.  He thinks they just have no idea how to deal with it.

Simone Behrend, taught at a Berlin high-school:  One time a group from his class started shouting at him from across the road "You Jew, you Jew!".  Another time somebody wrote on the blackboard 'Jew' and 'genitals', and drew appropriate pictures for each.  Behrend says he deals with antisemitic conspiracy theories in class and with Israel hatred.  When he tells other teachers, he gets no support.

Hannah Kushnir, teaches at the same school in Berlin and had taught previously elsewhere: The Jewish teacher has to deal with these problems alone.  Last fall she wrote letters to newspapers and politicians, but got no response.  She got the impression that it doesn't interest anybody.

The education ministries don't really keep statistics on antisemitism in schools.  It's categorized together with neo-Nazi crimes, and the teachers suspect that the school principals don't really want to report it - it's too much paperwork and they're afraid it would make their school look bad.

Hannah Kushnir says that when she was trained as a teacher, she was taught about neo-Nazis, but not about Muslim antisemitism.

Ahmad Mansour, a psychologist from the Berlin Center for Democratic Culture, says that teachers are afraid to discuss Israel with their students.

Meanwhile, Lea Feynberg, who identifies herself as a Jew to her students, says she's had a positive experience and that her students for the first time in their life meet a Jew.  One student told her that when his friends started shouting 'you Jew', he spoke up and told them his teacher is Jewish and she's very nice, so don't say that.

All the teachers asked to remain anonymous and their names have been changed.

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