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More Than 30 Jewish Groups Call on German Government to Confront Antisemitism

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrive for a news conference in Berlin, Germany, June 4, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Axel Schmidt. – More than 30 German Jewish groups have called on the government to confront antisemitism amid a spate of recent attacks on the Jewish community.

In a declaration published on Monday, Germany’s Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism (JFDA) called on the authorities to crack down harder against antisemitic agitation and attacks, Deutsche Welle reported.

The groups demanded that public funding for civil and religious groups should be granted only if those groups have publicly distanced themselves from all forms of antisemitism—a kind of pro-democracy oath. It also calls on German to adhere to the International Alliance for Holocaust Remembrance’s definition of antisemitism.

Lala Süsskind, chairperson of the JFDA, warned against playing down antisemitism among Muslims out of misconceived concern. “Of course, antisemitism also exists on the Muslim side,” she told DW.

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While the German government has yet to reply to the letter, last week it announced that it would increase financial support to the Central Council of Jews in Germany in order to confront antisemitism.

This past week has seen a number of antisemitic attacks in Germany. On Friday, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in Offenbach, Germany, was the victim of a verbal assault on his way to synagogue.

“They shouted, ‘sh**ty Jew’ and ‘Free Palestine’ and other things at me,” Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gurevitch wrote in a post on Facebook.

The Offenbach incident follows another incident in Berlin over the weekend, when a young Jewish man was attacked and badly beaten by a group of Muslims. The police arrested 10 men, ages 15 to 21, some of whom were Syrian, on suspicion of involvement.

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