German Newspaper’s Israeli Flag Test Yields ‘Frightening Results’
As Germans continue to probe the connection between antisemitism and hostility to Israel in the wake of recent antisemitic incidents across the country, a leading newspaper on Monday carried out a live experiment to determine how long an Israeli flag could be displayed in major urban thoroughfares before being removed.
Israeli flags hung in three locations by reporters from the Bild newspaper were removed within ninety minutes by individuals who happened to be passing by, video revealed.
“The results are frightening,” the newspaper reported. “At the Hermannplatz in Berlin-Neukölln, the Israel flag flew for 42 minutes, for 61 minutes in Munich’s Bahnhofsviertel, and for 81 minutes in the center of Frankfurt.”
Video shot in Munich caught two men walking past an Israeli flag draped over a bicycle railing. Moments later, the men returned and angrily tore the flag down. Meanwhile in Berlin, two youths were filmed at the entrance to a rail station ripping the flag and throwing it to the ground, before one of them tried – and failed – to set it on fire with a cigarette lighter.
German politicians from across the spectrum interviewed by Bild were unanimous in their condemnation of the flag removals.
“The tearing down of the Israeli flag is something we will not tolerate in Germany,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the paper. “We will clearly stand against any form of antisemitism.” His colleague Horst Seehofer, the Interior Minister, pledged to show “zero tolerance” for antisemitic displays.
A spokeswoman for Berlin’s mayor, Michael Müller, stated that the German capital stood by its “close ties to Israel.”
“Jewish life is part of this city – hatred is not,” the spokeswoman added.
Germany recently appointed veteran diplomat Felix Klein to be the first incumbent in the new post of federal commissioner against antisemitism. Interviewed last week, Klein said that official statistics on rising antisemitism in Germany downplayed the involvement of Muslims in attacks on Jews.
“Muslim antisemitism is stronger than is reflected in the statistics,” Klein said.
“Antisemitism is common in many Muslim countries and is often brought into Germany,” he continued. “We cannot accept that.”
Thousands of Germans from all backgrounds took to the streets in special “kippa marches” over the last week, wearing skullcaps in solidarity with German Jews – many of whom are afraid to wear Jewish symbols openly because of a rise in antisemitic violence.