Anti-Jewish protest in German cities


Central Europe


Demonstration against anti-Semitism in Germany on May 8th. Photo AFP, John Macdougall

The German police are busy with anti-Semitic actions in the last few days. In the heat of the violent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Germany has seen many anti-Jewish protests.

In the Western German city of Gelsenkirchen, the police had to stop an anti-Semitic demonstration in front of the Jewish synagogue on Thursday. According to the newspaper, Neue Zürcher Zeitung was the hate coming from younger people from the migrant community. The police were able to keep the group of about fifty people at a distance from the building.

The paper writes about a heated atmosphere during the demonstration. People in the crowd shouted insults about Jews. Men wave Turkish and Palestinian flags, and women with headscarves raised their arms in the air.

In the Northern German city of Bremen, 1500 people demanded Israel to give in. During this event were also Israeli flags damaged, as Tagesschau reports. They chanted “Freedom for Palestine” and “Allahu akbar” (God is great).

On Tuesday, evangelical press agency IDEA reported burnings of Israelian flags in front of synagogues in Bonn and Münster, both cities close to Gelsenkirchen.

In Bonn, the synagogue was hit with stones on Tuesday evening as well. In Mannheim, the window of the Jewish gathering house was damaged. The police have promised to increase the police presence around the Jewish properties.
In Berlin, the governing CDU party had organised a party in solidarity with Israel in the headquarter building. The Israeli flag that was standing outside was stolen during that event.

Dark memories

The Jewish community in Germany speaks about dark memories that are awakened by the anti-Semitism of this week. Germany played a crucial role in the Holocaust during the Second World War. The Central Council of Jews wrote on Twitter: “Times, when Jews are insulted on the open street, should have been overcome long ago. These actions are pure anti-Semitism, nothing else.” The council thinks that the threat to Jews in Germany is on the rise.

Horst Seehofer, Minister of Interior, sharply criticised the actions. “Never again should Jews be allowed to live in fear in our country”, Seehofer wrote.
The German state president Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that shouting anti-Semitic slogans was an abuse of the right to free expression. “Hatred of Jews, no matter by whom, we don’t want and will not tolerate in our country”, Steinmeier said.

The Roman Catholic bishop of the are to which Gelsenkirchen belongs, Frans-Josef Overbeck, said that he was shocked by the anti-Jewish protests around the synagogue. “There is no room for anti-Semitism in the Ruhrgebiet”, he said.
The Catholic bishop of Münster, <a href=" Felix Genn," target="_blank">https://www.idea.de/spektrum/demonstranten-verbrennen-israel-fahnen-in-bonn-und-muenster), expressed his deep concern, according to Idea. “Let’s pray together that the violence in the Holy Land will stop quickly.”

The president of the regional Evangelical Church of Westphalia, Annette Kurschus, called it unacceptable that Jews in Germany are blamed and threatened for things happening in the Middle East.

The actions were triggered by the latest escalation of the conflict in the Middle East. Since Monday, the terrorist organisations Hamas and Islamic Jihad are firing rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip.



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