For Germany’s persecuted Jewish students, Israel is the answer

Reactions to ongoing attacks on Jewish students in Germany reveals the political impotence in the face of the out of control crisis of antisemitism in the country.

By
January 15, 2019 17:23
4 minute read.
For Germany’s persecuted Jewish students, Israel is the answer

People wear kippas as they attend a demonstration in front of a Jewish synagogue, to denounce an anti-Semitic attack on a young man wearing a kippa in the capital earlier this month, in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018.. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)

 
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Reactions to ongoing attacks on Jewish students in Germany reveals the political impotence in the face of the out of control crisis of antisemitism in the country.

Not surprisingly, Israel remains the escape hatch for young German Jews.

The proliferation of commissioners to combat antisemitism across German states, a federal registry to notify with respect to antisemitic attacks, a federal team of 170 anti-bullying experts sent to schools, and a poster campaign against Jew-hatred in Frankfurt are signs of a society on its knees in the fight against Jew-hatred.

In short, Germany’s long-standing posture toward post-Holocaust antisemitism is to manage it, rather than pursue an aggressive,  uncompromising crackdown.

In a January policy article titled “Extreme Anti-Semitism at Berlin Schools” on the website of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA), Eva Odrischinsky and Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld outlined some of the cases of Jewish pupils attacked in German schools. One incident provides a promising answer to the plight of Jewish students facing violence and harassment.

In 2018, “German Jewish student Liam Rückert relocated from Berlin to Israel because he had experienced rampant hatred of Jews at his Jungfernheide public school in Berlin’s Spandau neighborhood,” the article said. “The school is known to be problematic. Sixty-two percent of its pupils come from migrant backgrounds.”

Rückert has not yet decided to make aliyah but his decision to live in Israel might very well be the answer for the scores of other young German Jews whose situation is equally dire. According to the BESA center article, attorney Vladislava Zdesenko is one of nine Jewish lawyers in Berlin who have organized to stop “antisemitic bullying.” She said that “the cases that come to public awareness are just the tip of iceberg.”

The absorption of more than 1 million migrants and refugees by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration is the most recent new face of antisemitism. Most of the migrants and refugees are from Muslim-majority countries (Syria and Afghanistan) steeped in hatred of Jews and Israel. It is worth noting that the vestiges of a period of 12 years of fanatical German antisemitism (1933-1945) have not been eradicated.

How does the Merkel administration, which tolerated enormous amounts of antisemitism before the 2015 wave of migrants and refugees, expect to address people socialized in decades of lethal Jew-hatred?

In a Monday commentary, Bild’s editor in chief Julian Reichelt – a German journalist who has gone to great lengths to combat antisemitism – wrote: “Our government has done too little to oppose immigrant antisemitism.”

In an eye-popping interview on Monday with Germany’s leading expert on antisemitism, Henryk M. Broder told the Berlin-based journalist Orit Arfa: “At least two or three times a year, there is news saying antisemitism is on the rise. That is absolutely not true. There is constant antisemitism, but what has risen is the coverage of it. What has risen, which is true, is the number of antisemitic incidents since our beloved Chancellor invited half the world to come to Germany.”

Merkel’s immigration policies have also permitted Hezbollah members masquerading as refugees to enter the country. While the European Union has outlawed Hezbollah’s military arm, Merkel has refused to ban the political wing of the eliminationist, antisemitic and terrorist entity in Germany. The Lebanese Shi’ite organization has, according to German intelligence reports, 950 active members in the federal republic. They raise funds and recruit new members. In 2012, Hezbollah operatives blew up an Israel tour bus, murdering five Israelis and their Bulgarian Muslim bus driver.

In 2017, a Hanns Seidel Foundation study in Bavaria revealed that half of the asylum seekers in Bavaria subscribe to classic antisemitic views about Jewish power. In the same year as the Seidal report, a German government commissioned study revealed that nearly 33 million Germans, 40% of the population of 82 million, are contaminated with contemporary antisemitism – hatred of the Jewish state.

Broder neatly captured the Western infatuation with surveys of antisemitic attitudes as a “job-creation machinery.” The studies are a sort of a delusional way to show the Germany’s political and think tank classes are taking action against antisemitism.

These studies, along with a largely indifferent German civil society, help to explain that the future of Germany’s Jewish community of just under 100,000 registered members does not look rosy.

In 2015, in a meeting with Merkel, the chairman of Germany’s Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, asked Merkel how she planned to handle antisemitism from migrants and refugees.

Schuster told Die Welt paper at the time that “among the people, who have sought refuge in Germany, many come from countries in which Israel is an enemy and are raised with this hostility toward Israel.”

He said the migrants “frequently carry over their resentments toward all Jews in general.”

Merkel responded to Schuster: “We must take care of that.”

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