German Interior Minister Announces Six-Point Plan to Combat Antisemitism
Germany’s interior minister announced a new six-point plan to combat antisemitism on Thursday, as the country continued to reel from last week’s attempted massacre by a far-right terrorist of worshipers at a synagogue in Halle during Yom Kippur services.
Speaking to the federal parliament, the Bundestag, Interior Minister Horst Seehoffer acknowledged that “antisemitism is anchored in parts of our society.” His plan includes an obligation to report hate speech on the internet, bans on extremist political groups, a stricter weapons law and more prevention work by the authorities.
In his remarks, Seehofer spoke of “individual perpetrators” who “build up their frustration outside the public sphere without initially recognizable connections to anyone.” This was a new challenge for the authorities because it was no longer enough to observe an extremist party, he said.
Stephan Balliet — the 27-year-old who murdered two people in Halle after being unable to enter the synagogue — is being investigated as a lone-wolf terrorist, despite his support for neo-Nazi ideology.
Seehoffer’s proposals come on top of last week’s move by the justice minister to toughen German laws against hate speech on the internet.
Christine Lambrecht said she would push through measures that would obligate social media companies to report death threats and other inflammatory statements to the relevant authorities. Lambrecht is also seeking stiffer sentences for those convicted of promoting racism and antisemitism online.