May 15, 2021 – 10:13
“Enough! Do not look away! Do not justify this hatred of Jews being dismissed at the moment!” So said Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews, who responded to the invitation of the leader of the Liberal party, FDP, Christian Lindner, to speak virtually at the congress of this party. Unlike the usual greeting words, Schuster directed a strong emotional appeal.
Germany and hatred of Jews. These days this long and horrible story continues. When rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into the suburbs of Tel Aviv on Wednesday and then Israel’s response to the overcrowded Gaza Strip, Israeli flags were burned in front of several synagogues in Germany. In Gelsenkirchen the crowd shouted: “Foolish Jews.” The police kept the synagogue, stop demonstrators, but not anti-Semitist bullets. Jews in Germany are scared.
“Foundations of Democracy”
Even if one looks critically at the Israeli government’s policy, or rejects it outright, it does not justify “continued rocket fire on the Israeli civilian population” nor “pure anti-Semitism on German streets,” Schuster warned. He called on liberals to “stand up against hatred of Jews in the demonstrations of Corona deniers, to stand up against hatred of Jews in demonstrations against Israel. To stand up against all dissidents, extremists, radicals, who are sabotaging the foundation of our democracy.”
A speech by Schuster was scheduled for Friday on the Ecumenical Day of the Church in Frankfurt am Main. Had it not been for the escalation of the situation in recent days, Schuster would have appeared before the media. But the conversation was recorded on Wednesday, and no connection could be made with the latest footage from the Gaza Strip, from Israeli cities like Ashkelon or Lod, but also from the German city of Gelsenkirchen.
24 hours police protection
The mayor of Frankfurt, Peter Feldmann, SPD, himself of the Jewish faith, greeted Church Day there from “certainly the most Jewish city in Germany”. But even this city is not the “island of the happy”. Even in this city there are anti-Semitic attitudes, people “relativizing the Shoah”, and the police have to guard the synagogue 24 hours a day. There is “anti-Semitism among” the city, but “we have the opposite,” Feldmann said proudly about multiculturalism in his hometown.
At the Church Day forum, the head of the Central Council of Jews, Schuster, also spoke in this context about the demonstrations of Corona deniers, where anti-Semitic currents circulate among them. “There are dangerous social shifts.”
Schuster spoke in support of Germany’s assessment of the situation in Israel, saying he wanted “more sensitivity in assessing the situation in Israel”. This includes the sensitivity and restraint of the church circles. “Many judgments are made quickly and without concrete knowledge of the situation. Instead they are based on prejudice.”
Across Europe, the situation is “unfortunately the same as in Germany,” said European Union anti-Semitism commissioner Katharina von Schnurbein. At a time when anti-Semitism is not a problem of Jews, but of anti-Semites, a “problem that arises against Jews and ultimately against all of us.”
Guests in the synagogue
A “solidarity mass within the ongoing Hamas rocket terror” took place in the Chabad community in Berlin Vilmersdorf on Friday evening. “We stand united on the side of Israel! We pray for security and peace in Israel!” Said Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin. He had invited the Israeli ambassador to Berlin, Jeremy Issacharoff, the Minister of Justice, Christine Lambrecht, the Minister of State for Culture, Monica Grütters, and the Greens’ candidate for chancellor, Annalena Baerbock, to this religious service. There was also a silent protest in the Gelsenkirchen synagogue in Gelsenkirchen. A rally of the German-Israeli Association is scheduled in Würzburg on Sunday./DW