Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker spoke at Muni Expo 2020 in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, warning of the recent rise in antisemitic events and overall hatred of Jews in Germany.
During his speech, he posited that what may have caused this increase in antisemitism is a lack of knowledge among the German people, saying that "People don’t know about Jewish life, young people in Germany know about hate and the Shoah, but they don’t know about normal Jewish life in the 21st century."
Becker continued, laying blame on the German education system, saying that "the average German child learns that in 1933 Germans started killing Jews, and then by 1945 the war was over. Children don’t learn about Jewish life; they only know that Jews are victims.”
“But, we have a problem with the antisemitism of adults, not only children,” he added.
“Antisemitism exists from the far left to the far right, influenced by anti-Zionism which becomes antisemitism," Becker said, echoing that "from the guilt of the past, we bear responsibility for the future.”
On the same day as Becker's speech, German officials said the recent hate crimes in the country have been mostly motivated by far-right ideologies - not the Islamic extremists which have preoccupied most of the government’s recent anti-terrorism efforts.
The most notable of these attacks were the Halle synagogue attack in October and the assassination of pro-refugee politician Walter Lubcke in June, both of which occurred last year.
Another speaker at the Expo who decried the current level of racism and hateful rhetoric in his country was Nick Forbes, head of the Newcastle City Council in the UK.
“I stand for a Britain which is open, welcoming, accepting and multicultural,” he stated. “We need to understand what’s driving communities apart, what’s driving the rhetoric that puts communities against each other.”
“In my country the UK, we have seen no economic growth for years, and when people are dissatisfied with their lives, they look for someone to blame,” he continued. “We have to focus to support our economy, create jobs [and] make people feel secure in their future, [to have] hate crimes start to diminish.”