A man wears a kippa. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BERLIN – The student spokesman for the city of Offenbach’s school system, Max Moses Bonifer, resigned his post because German Arab and Turkish students attacked him and threatened to kill him.
The German daily FAZ reported on Wednesday that Bonifer said young Muslims have threatened him over the last few weeks because he wore a kippa with a Star of David and yelled at him: “We spit on your people. We’ll find you and kill you.”
Bonifer told the weekly German Jewish paper Jüdische Allgemeine that “since the Gaza conflict in the summer, youths of Arab and Turkish origin have regularly insulted me, spat at me and attacked me.”
Bonifer said he could no longer represent students who wish death for him and the Jewish people.
Offenbach is a small city in the state of Hesse, with a population of roughly 122,000, and borders the financial capital Frankfurt am Main. More than 16,000 German Muslims live in Offenbach.
Dr. Elvira Grözinger, from the German branch of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, “the anti-Semitism, especially by Muslim students at German schools, is becoming a very serious problem also for the teachers and school directors who have to deal with it daily.”
She added,” It is absolutely necessary to counteract religious and political indoctrination among Muslim youth which is a threat to the German civil society as a whole not just to Jews, but… to inform students and teaching staff about anti-Semitism, Judaism, Jewish history, Israel and the history of the Middle East conflict. At present, many school books include biased information about these topics. The German Chancellor demanded this in public, and now concrete steps must follow. “
A little over six weeks ago, Chancellor Angela Merkel and her cabinet took part in a rally in Berlin, titled “Stand Up: Jew Hatred – Never Again!.”
Bonifer said that the steering committee of the school council did not defend him and did not provide any support. He is slated to end his post at the end of November as student spokesman. He told FAZ that he has faced attacks for nearly year. Bonifer added that the city of Offenbach ignored the rise of radical German Salafists – a form of Islam that preaches a radical adherence to the Koran.
Sacha Stawski, the head of the Frankfurt-based Honestly Concerned media watchdog group, which tracks anti-Semitism, told the Post on Sunday that the “rally in Berlin did not fail, but the politicians who did not follow words with action [did].”
Stawski said he was not surprised about the outbreak of anti-Semitism in Offenbach because one teenage class in Landsberg near the East German city of Leipzig allegedly used Nazi slogans, including “Heil Hitler,” to greet each other.
The case of students wearing Hitler mustaches near Leipzig made headlines last week.
Stawski termed the outbreak of anti-Semitism in Offenbach “cruel, a scandal, and hateful.” The Green Party Mayor Peter Schneider, said anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia will not be tolerated in Offenbach.
The Green Party has, according to critics, contributed to an anti-Israel climate in Germany. The national party mounted a vigorous campaign in 2013 to demarcate Israeli products from the disputed territories.
Former Green Party deputy Kerstin Müller, who now heads the party’s Heinrich Böll Foundation branch in Tel Aviv, was a co-sponsor of the initiative. Many critics deemed the legislative initiative to be anti-Semitic because it signaled out Israel for discriminatory treatment.
Abdelkader Rafoud, the head of head of Offenbach’s advisory board for foreign immigration, termed the anti-Semitic attacks on Bonifer “very bad and entirely unacceptable.” He plans to speak to representatives of the of Muslim community.
Stawski sees a German-wide problem of failed integration of German Muslims. He said many lived in a “parallel society” divorced from mainstream German life.