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Scale of anti-Semitism in Germany ‘frightening’ – vice chancellor

Berlin has a “historic responsibility” to protect its Jewish citizens, Robert Habeck has said

Too many people in Germany are anti-Semitic and this must change, Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck has told Bild in response to the tabloid’s manifesto on what Berlin needs to do about millions of Muslim immigrants.

“The extent of anti-Semitism is frightening,” said the head of the Greens and the federal minister for the economy. “We have a historical responsibility and anti-Semitism, no matter what form it takes, must have no place in Germany.”

The German constitution must apply “with all its rights and obligations,” Habeck added, responding to the publication of “Germany, we have a problem,” a 50-point manifesto authored by Bild to address the rise in anti-Semitism triggered by the latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the weeks following the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, German authorities have recorded over 1,100 incidents ranging from incitement to hatred to bodily harm and property damage, including an attempted firebombing of a synagogue in Berlin. 

Meanwhile, several mass pro-Palestinian demonstrations have resulted in clashes with police. German officials have gone as far as proposing a law that would strip “anti-Semites” of citizenship and allow the deportation of those deemed Hamas sympathizers.

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“I sometimes don’t recognize this country,” Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews, told Bild. “Hate of Jews and hostility to Israel is flaring up again in Germany: openly on the streets, in lecture halls and theaters; whether Islamist, right-wing extremist, left-wing radical or woke. Behind closed doors, anti-Semitism has penetrated into the middle of society.”

Schuster also criticized Germany for having “no clear stance against the relativization of Hamas terror.”

According to Bild’s manifesto, published on Sunday, there has been “a new dimension of hatred in our country – against our values, democracy, and against Germany” since the Hamas attack on Israel. 

The manifesto itself does not mention Islam or Muslims. It does, however, criticize “many people who oppose our way of life,” believe “radical preachers,” hate “infidels” and “want to forbid women from wearing skirts or trousers.”

“They exploit tolerance because they want a different society,” the manifesto says, noting that Germany has taken in over three million migrants since 2015, but never told them “we do not want to change our way of life just because we have guests.”

Germany considers backing Israel part of its atonement for the Holocaust perpetrated by the 1933-45 Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler. An estimated 120,000 Jews lived in the country as of 2021.


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