The German government announced in a written statement last week that at least
82 attacks took place on synagogues within a five year period.
response to a parliamentary questionnaire by the German Left Party, the federal
government wrote that most of the attacks (24) occurred in Germany’s most
populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The state of Rhineland-Palatinate
registered 13 attacks, the second largest number of anti-Jewish assaults on
In 2010, The Jerusalem Post reported that a synagogue in the
city of Worms, in Rhineland- Palatinate state, was attacked by
The vandals left a note connecting their torching of the
synagogue with the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The regional paper Wiesbadener
Kurier reported at the time that German police found eight copies of a note
written in “awkward” German, claiming responsibility for the blaze.
long as you do not give the Palestinians peace, we are not going to give you
peace,” read the note.
According to German media reports, the yearly
numbers of synagogue attacks varied between 21 in 2008 to nine in
The number of cases, which were documented by the Federal criminal
agency, covered property damage (roughly 30 instances) and the use of symbols
from constitutionally banned organizations (29 cases). An additional 17 cases
involved incitement to hate.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, a leading Israeli
expert on modern anti-Semitism, told the Post on Sunday, “Israel has been
frequently blackened in Europe over many years by leading politicians, media and
senior members of civil society. This has helped, bringing out
again... the classic anti-Semitism which was latent and politically
incorrect after the Second World War yet never disappeared. Laying the
connection between the extreme anti-Israelism and classic anti-Semitism is
largely taboo in European circles, even though it is obvious.”
continued, “At the beginning of the past decade, the University of Bielefeld
found that 51 percent of Germans agreed with the demonizing statement that
Israel behaves toward the Palestinians like the Nazis behaved toward the Jews.
In 2011, the same university asked Germans whether they agreed with the
statement that Israel conducts a war of extermination against the Palestinians.
Forty-seven percent of those polled answered in the affirmative. If so many
people have such an unfounded, extreme, wicked opinion about others, all that
that indicates is that one self has a criminal mindset. In such a societal
climate much worse things can happen than graffiti and other attacks on
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in August that
she felt “very ashamed” that police had to be deployed to protect Jewish
organizations and institutions in Germany from damage and attacks.
Samuels, the director for international relations of the Simon Wiesenthal
Center, told the Post from Paris that “the main problem is Germany is doing well
in fighting for Holocaust memory but not against anti-Semitism.”
that if you decouple Holocaust memory from the victims of today it is worthless.
He cited incendiary anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic Arab books at the Frankfurt
Book Fair, as well as “Iranian children books extolling the religious obligation
to jihad and suicide.”
Meanwhile, Martin Karplus, the Austrian-born
Jewish chemist and winner of the Noble Prize in chemistry last week, said there
is still anti-Semitism in Austria.
The Austrian news outlet ORF (Austrian
Broadcasting) reported that Karplus, the 83-year-old Harvard professor who fled
Nazi Austria, commented on a personal experience with anti-Jewish sentiments in
While searching for a street named after his uncle – the
distinguished neurologist Dr. Johann Palu Karplus – he asked the owner of
a small hotel where the street is. Karplus said the woman answered that “she
does not understand how one can name a street after a Jew.”
Mailath-Pokorny, a social democratic politician in Vienna, said Austria suffered
an “intellectual vacuum” through the loss of scores of people who fled the
Nazis. Mailath-Pokorny added Karplus is an “important part of this intellectual
elite” who had to flee Vienna.
He listed some of the important political
and intellectual figures who fled Austria, including the late mayor of Jerusalem
Teddy Kollek and the former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post Ari
Samuel Laster, a close observer of Austria-Jewish relations and
editor-in-chief of the online news outlet The Jewish, told the Post that “Jews
in Austria find themselves prisoners between the ‘old’ Jewish hostility in the
FPÖ [Freedom Party of Austria known as right-wing extremist and xenophobic] of
the populists... and those of left-wing haters of Israel.”
added that the left-wing, anti-Israel activists carry out their activities on the
fringe wing of the social democrats.