Anti-Semitism among migrants a concern for German Jews

German Jewish leaders call for increased inter-religious dialogue; express concern over “widespread anti-Semitism among Muslim youth” who have made their way to Germany.

October 28, 2015 17:55
2 minute read.
jewish germany berlin

A man wearing a kippa waits for the start of an anti-Semitism demo at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate September 14, 2014. (photo credit: REUTERS)

German Jews are concerned over the potential for a rise in anti-Semitism due to the increasing flow of Syrian migrants, several community leaders told Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday.

Speaking with the chief of state during a meeting with the leadership of the Christian Democratic Union party, representatives of the Central Council of Jews in Germany said that while they believe that “Germany must provide protection” to those fleeing from war, Berlin must make sure that only legitimate refugees are provided sanctuary.

The German Jewish leaders called for increased inter-religious dialogue and expressed their concerns over the “widespread anti-Semitism among Muslim youth” who have made their way to Germany.

“Many refugees come from countries where Israel is an enemy; this resentment is often transferred to Jews in general,” they warned.

These statements were almost word for word the same as those made by Central Council head Josef Schuster during a previous meeting with Merkel earlier this month.

Despite its reservations, the organized German Jewish community has come out in favor of accepting Syrian refugees.

In a joint op-ed with World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder in September, Schuster wrote that most of the refugees were “grateful to be permitted to live in safety here, and in turn they are willing to contribute to their host country” and they should be given the chance to do so.

As long as the migrants are familiarized with Western values, including the German constitution, and brought to an “acceptance that support for Israel is part of the political DNA of this country,” their arrival could “contribute to a better understanding between different peoples and religions,” they wrote.

In recent weeks Germany’s security and intelligence agencies expressed alarm over the influx of refugees and migrants who harbor radical Islamic views and hatred of Jews.

According to a security document read by top-level agency personnel and obtained by newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Germany is “importing Islamic extremism, Arab anti-Semitism, national and ethnic conflicts of other peoples, as well as a different societal and legal understanding.”

The newspaper wrote that security sources warn that “the integration of hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants Germany is no longer possible in light of the number and already existing parallel societies.”

The term “parallel societies” in Germany is frequently defined as insulated Muslim communities that have little or no contact with mainstream society.

Israel’s war with Hamas in the summer 2014 saw huge surges in anti-Semitic incidents across Europe, including Germany.

In one incident, anti-Israel demonstrators chanted, “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas” while at a demonstration in Essen, anti-Israel provocateurs attempted to burn down a synagogue.

Benjamin Weinthal in Berlin contributed to this report.

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