Thursday, July 19, 2018

German Jewry: a bleak future

Via Jewish Policy Center (Benjamin Weinthal):
[…] A second telling example of the growing—or perhaps continued—indifference was the April attack by a Syrian refugee on Adam Armush, an Israeli Arab, because he dared wear a kippa (yarmulke) on a Berlin street.

The assault triggered headlines in the German and foreign media because there was video evidence of the attack. Der Spiegel’s influential columnist Jakob Augstein blamed the Israeli for having “come up with the idea to wear the kippa and use it as a provocation.” Augstein—who inherited significant ownership in the Spiegel news organization—has played a key role in mainstreaming media anti-Semitism. The Simon Wiesenthal Center ranked him ninth on its “2012 Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs” list for his bigoted statements.

Armush told the Deutsche Welle news outlet: “I am not Jewish, I am an Israeli and I grew up in Israel in an Arab family,” adding, “It was an experience for me to wear the skullcap and go out into the street yesterday.” He said he filmed the attack “for the police and for the German people and even the world to see how terrible it is these days as a Jew to go through Berlin streets.”

For observers of Jewish life in Germany, the anti-Semitic attack on Armush came as no surprise. In 2016, the spokesman for Hamburg’s nearly 2,500-member Jewish community, Daniel Killy, said a breakdown in security in the Federal Republic has created a highly dangerous situation for Jews.

“No, we are no longer safe here,” Killy told the news outlet. Killy said the collapsing sense of state power, excesses of the extreme right-wing, the loss of political credibility, and “the terrible fear of naming Islamism as such” have all contributed to creating a climate of insecurity for Jews.

The response to the attack on Armush was a call for an anti-anti-Semitism protest. “Berlin wears the kippa” was the name of the feel-good rally on April 25 against Jew-hatred. It attracted some 2,000 people, according to press reports. The real number of attendees is believed to have been fewer than 1,500, in a city of 3.7 million. The demonstration took place under conditions that resembled those in a maximum-security prison.

A second protest against anti-Semitism in the largely Muslim neighborhood of Neukölln in Berlin had to be called off after a mere 20 minutes because of the anticipated violence of pro-Palestinian counter-demonstrators.

To put things in perspective, roughly 150,000 people marched in Berlin in 2015 against a planned free trade deal between the United States and Europe.

Germans frequently invoke the phrase “nip it in the bud” at Holocaust remembrance events when referring to anti-Semitism. Dead Jews trigger widespread commemoration events across the country, but the fight to stop anti-Semitism against living Jews limps—at best—on both legs. A detached observer might ask of modern Germany: Have we learned anything from the Holocaust? […] 
Germany’s woefully inadequate system for classifying anti-Semitic crimes is also cause for alarm. As anti-Semitism rises in the country, the authorities continue to classify Islamic-animated anti-Semitism as a “politically motivated right-wing extremist crime.” A telling example, cited in Die Welt, was an outbreak of Hezbollah-related anti-Semitism that was registered as right-wing extremism. 
Supporters of the Hezbollah terrorist organization participated in an anti-Israel march during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Twenty Hezbollah supporters yelled the Nazi slogan “Sieg Heil” (Hail Victory) at a group of pro-Israel activists in Berlin. The “Sieg Heil” call violates Germany’s anti-hate law and was designated as a far-right extremist crime.

The result is German whitewashing of the leading cause of lethal anti-Semitism in Europe: jihadi-based eliminatory anti-Semitism.

The Holocaust survivor Charlotte Knobloch, who is head of Munich’s Jewish community, said in 2017: “The Muslim associations have for decades not only done nothing [to combat anti-Semitism], rather they have allowed anti-Semitic hate preachers from Muslim countries to bring their anti-Jewish ideology into German mosques and into the heads of young Muslims.”

Germany’s tiny Jewish community—100,000 among a population of over 82 million in the Federal Republic—is in dire straits today and faces an increasingly precarious future. Chancellor Merkel and mainstream German society would do well to remember the words of the British historian Sir Ian Kershaw: “The road to Auschwitz was built by hate but paved with indifference.” Acute indifference is now the norm in Germany.
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