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January 7, 2018 1:41 pm

Ruling German Conservatives Push ‘Zero Tolerance’ Legislation Targeting Antisemitism Among Immigrants

avatar by Ben Cohen

Demonstrators in Berlin brandish Turkish and Palestinian flags as they burn the Israeli flag. Photo: Jüdisches Forum für Demokratie und gegen Antisemitismus.

Germany’s ruling conservative alliance is moving forward with legislation to counter antisemitism among immigrant groups that includes the prospect of deportation for offenders.

Draft legislation authored by parliamentarians from the ruling CDU-CSU coalition released over the weekend asserts that “those who oppose Jewish life in Germany or question Israel’s right to exist cannot have a place in our country.” The legislation also states that “unconditional acceptance of Jewish life in Germany” will be considered a “yardstick” for “successful integration.”

“We must resolutely oppose the antisemitism of migrants with an Arab background and from African countries,” Stephan Harbarth, deputy chairman of the CDU-CSU group in the German parliament, said on Saturday.

The parliamentary motion in favor of the legislation is to be tabled on January 27, to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It follows the widespread shock and dismay in Germany last month, when activists from Turkish, Arab and other Muslim immigrant communities staged several angry demonstrations opposing US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Among the provocations witnessed were the burning of Israeli flags and chants of “Down with Israel” and “Death to the Jews.” Many of the demonstrators carried Turkish and Palestinian flags at the same time.

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The demonstrations prompted German Interior Minister Heiko Maas to observe that in addition to the far-right, “we also have imported antisemitism, which is brought to Germany by people who come from other countries of the world.” German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier declared that “no exceptions” would be made for immigrants when it came to the rejection of antisemitism as a national value.

Centrally, the draft legislation invokes Germany’s Residency Act to hold out the possibility of deportation for offenders. “This phenomenon of antisemitism among Muslims who have lived in Germany for some time must be given special attention,” the draft states, according to the newspaper Die Welt. It also urges the German government to “investigate” other measures to “more effectively” punish demonstrators who burn Israeli flags or other symbols of Judaism, or who chant antisemitic slogans.

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