Muslim Antisemitism in Germany
by Manfred Gerstenfeld
German political correctness has led to the cover-up of antisemitism — in both its classic and anti-Israeli types — among Muslim immigrants. Suddenly, a tipping point seems to have been reached. This has probably been caused by the public burning of self-made Israeli flags by Muslims after President Trump announced that the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The video of the Berlin flag burning was seen around the world.
While flag burning is far from the most severe type of antisemitism in contemporary Germany, it called up powerful associations with the book burning in 1933, when the Nazi party came to power after a democratic election. Suddenly, leading politicians have started to speak out against antisemitism among immigrants. Some have even been more explicit, using the term “Muslim antisemites.”
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, said that the responsibility of Germany for its history knows “no limits for those who were born later and no exceptions for immigrants.” He added: “This is not negotiable for all those who live in Germany and want to live here.”
Jens Spahn, a board member of Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democrat Union (CDU), and a possible successor to Merkel, remarked that the immigration from Muslim countries is the reason for the recent demonstrations in Germany.
Stephan Harbarth, deputy chairman of the CDU/ CSU faction in the Bundestag — the German parliament — said, “We have to strongly confront the antisemitism of migrants with an Arab background and those from African countries.”
The CDU interior minister of the federal state of Hessen, Peter Beuth, remarked: “We have to avoid an immigration of antisemitism.” He said this after a study on behalf of the state’s security service concluded that antisemitism among Muslims “both quantitatively and qualitatively has at least as high relevance as the traditional antisemitism of the extreme right.”
Similar studies have also recently appeared. A study by the Hanns Seidel Foundation — an institution close to the Bavarian Christian Social Party (CSU) — found that more than half of Muslim asylum seekers in Germany are of the opinion that Jews in the world have “too much influence.” Another study led by Gunther Jikeli, on behalf of the American Jewish Committee, found that among Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Germany, “Antisemitic thought patterns and stereotypes were very widespread throughout all the interviews.”
The breaking of this taboo is all the more surprising because previous severe antisemitic incidents never led to such strong reactions. When three Palestinians attempted to burn a synagogue in Wuppertal in 2014, the highest judicial authority dealing with the case eventually concluded that it was not an antisemitic act, but one of criticism of Israel that had simply gone too far.
A few months ago, a German Jewish boy had to leave his school in Berlin’s Friedenau neighborhood due to life-threatening harassment by Muslim pupils. More recently, it became known that a Jewish student in a school in Berlin’s Wedding neighborhood had to use a separate room during breaks to avoid harassment by Muslim pupils.
Measures are now being proposed to deal with this antisemitism among the Muslim community, but they could have been undertaken years ago. The minister of the interior, Thomas de Maizière, supports the appointment of an antisemitism commissioner. The CDU and CSU want to propose a law in parliament to expel antisemitic immigrants. These rapid developments are only one indication that issues concerning Jews have suddenly once again become an indicator of the societal confusion in contemporary Germany.