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April 10, 2019 9:47 am

Official German Report Acknowledges Islamist Antisemitism in the Country

avatar by Manfred Gerstenfeld


German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz arrive for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, February 13, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke – RC1E11AC0790/File Photo.

In a major break with the past, the German agency for domestic security — Bundesamt fuer Verfassungsschutz — has published a 40-page report whose title translates as “Antisemitism in Islamism.” The report defines Islamism as a form of political extremism among Muslims that wants to eliminate democracy, and where antisemitism is an essential ideological element.

Many Muslims are not antisemites. Yet the antisemitism problem in Islam is far from limited to people with extreme political views, or even to religious Muslims. The report indicates that many antisemitic incidents have been caused by individuals “about whom until then no indications were available to organized Islamism.” This suggests that these antisemitic acts were committed because of Islamism, which may not be the case.

Only recently, speaking about Muslim antisemitism was taboo in Germany, never to be mentioned by politicians — despite the fact that it was generally known that there had been major antisemitic incidents perpetrated by Muslims in the country.

The new German report starts off by talking about right-wing antisemitism, but then notes that common, “daily” antisemitism is widespread in the social and political center of German society. In addition, there is anti-Zionism and antisemitism among leftist extremists.

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The authors continue that even more far-reaching are the antisemitic opinions in Islamism, where religious, territorial, and political motives combine into an antisemitic worldview.

The report states that the arrival of more than a million Muslims in Germany between 2014 and 2017 has increased the importance of Islamist antisemitism in the country. It quotes the Anti-Defamation League statistics of antisemitism in states in the Middle East and North Africa. According to those figures, even Turkey — one of the least antisemitic countries — has nearly 70 percent antisemitism in its society. The study mentions that many children in these Muslim countries grow up with antisemitism as a self-understood phenomenon.

Like many experts, the report sees a turning point in the German awareness of Islamist antisemitism in a demonstration which took place in Berlin in 2017. There, placards were carried demanding the destruction of Israel, and an Israeli flag was burned. The report notes that these extremist acts were initiated by people who were unknown to have any prior relationship with Islamist organizations. The latter fact has probably never been published before.

The study states that it is crucial to counteract the spread of extreme antisemitism among the Muslim population in Germany. That requires a greater awareness of this problem in the public domain.

The authors also mention that the way Islamists interpret Islam is contrary to the basic elements of the German constitution concerning the sovereignty of citizens, the separation of state and religion, freedom of expression, and the general equality of all citizens. For that reason, German intelligence services continue to monitor the activities of Islamist organizations.

The report lists major antisemitic expressions of Islamist antisemitism such as: “Jews control finance and the economy,” “Jews operate with the help of secret agents and organizations,” and “there is an eternal battle between Muslims and Jews.” The report also lists the various extreme Muslim and Islamist organizations that are active in Germany. These include the local Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, Hizb Ut-Tahrir, ISIS, the Turkish Milli Görus, as well as Salafists.

The study concludes that the more than 100 antisemitic incidents officially caused by Muslims in 2017 are most likely only the tip of the iceberg. Due to the importance of the government agency that has published this report, Muslim antisemitism in Germany has now finally been officially detailed to the public. This has been lacking for far too long.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is the emeritus chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs think tank.

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