This article by Dr.Gerstenfeld is a substantially enlarged version of the article which appeared yesterday in Algemeiner, and published with the author’s consent.
GERMAN OFFICIAL: THREAT OF UNRESTRAINED HATRED OF JEWS
The German national antisemitism commissioner, Felix Klein, published an article on May 3 in the major daily Die Welt titled: “There is a threat of unrestrained Jew hatred in Germany.”1 He started off by listing a number of antisemitic events in a number of Western countries which had taken place in the course of a single week. Klein wrote: “Sometimes it is a hatred of Jews fed by a right radical worldview, on another occasion, it is unrestrained Muslim antisemitism, yet another originates in a left ideology seemingly characterized by undivided humanism. Each time the picture of the enemy is the same: the Jews.”
Klein added: “In parallel far too frequently the Jewish state of Israel appears. Under the pretext of ‘criticism of Israel’ the hatred of Jews is increasingly expressed without restraint for Israel, the Jew among the states. It is of course totally uninteresting how Jews – or Israelis – in fact behave. The antisemite will always hate Jews irrespective of their behavior. This is the simple but dangerous principle of antisemitism.”
It is an outspoken text, yet for those unfamiliar with the German reality one has to explain what is exceptional about it. For decades the official German version – backed by distorted statistics — has been that antisemitism in the country comes almost entirely from the right. Less than two years ago the French German public TV station, Arte, decided to suppress a new documentary, Chosen and Excluded – The Hate for Jews in Europe, created by German producers Joachim Schröder and Sophie Hafner. The German public broadcaster WDR through which Arte had commissioned the film had accepted the movie and paid for it.2 The documentary showed a wide range of perpetrators, from many segments of European societies. After Germany’s largest daily, BILD, broke the copyright and put the movie on a website for free for 24 hours, WDR had no choice left. It then decided to broadcast the documentary, interrupting it in an unprecedented way with many, partly false, comments.
The second reason that Klein’s text is exceptional is because he writes explicitly about ‘Muslim antisemitism’. The official German version calls it “Islamist antisemitism.” A few weeks ago a taboo-breaking report by the German domestic intelligence services was titled “Antisemitism and Islamism.” That even though it was clear from the content that among Muslims it are not only political radicals that commit antisemitic acts in the country.
Klein who was appointed to his position in April 2018 had prepared the ground for his article over the past few months. In January he said in an interview on German public radio that antisemitic and anti-constitutional positions have been expressed by the right wing party, AfD. He added that its attacks against the German culture of remembrance have triggered secondary antisemitism. As examples of antisemitism Klein mentioned the inclusion of the prohibition of male circumcision and ritual slaughter in the AfD party platform.3
In a newspaper interview in the same month Klein said that he had noticed increasing hostility toward Jews among Turkish immigrants as a result of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s enmity toward Israel.4 Also in January Klein was quoted as deploring an “alarming historical amnesia,” which has shaken the very foundations of German democracy.5
Since Klein’s article it has also become known to what extent the statistics of the perpetrators of antisemitic incidents in Berlin are manipulated by the police. The Berlin government provided the answer to a question from Marcel Luthe, a Liberal (FDP) member of the parliament there. In Berlin in 2018 the police only succeeded to find the perpetrators of 111 of the 324 registered antisemitic incidents. Nevertheless in the police statistics 253 incidents were published as having been caused by people with a right wing motivation.6
Yet in his recent article Klein took his statements a few steps too far. He said that the position of the German government was extremely clear: “The state of law has to fight antisemitism determinedly and relentlessly with all means available. That is irrespective of whether it comes from the right, the left, society’s mainstream, the Muslim community, or from BDS apologists dressed up as human rights advocates.”7
It would be very good if that were Germany’s reality. However, in February police stood by when neo-Nazis demonstrated at the former Nazi Party grounds in Nuremberg. They also posed with torches on the grandstand where Adolf Hitler spoke in the 1930’s.8 9
Even worse, on May 1 in Plauen in Saxony about 500 right-wing extremists marched with drums and flags through the town.10 Most of these neo-Nazis wore t-shirts which said: “National, Revolutionary, Socialist.” They shouted: “Illegal foreigners out and the others as well, stop the asylum flood, national socialists now!” The authorities did not intervene. They had permitted the march. On the same day neo-Nazis marched through the western German city of Duisburg with signs calling for the destruction of Israel.11
Klein concludes his recent article by saying that Germany is still far from the relentless antisemitism which exists elsewhere. Yet, in fact, for the informed observer of Europe the German situation is among the worst.