In a commentary, a major German Sunday newspaper accuses German politicians and media of encouraging Muslim anti-Semites to give free rein to their hatred of Jews

The following is the commentary by Johannes Boie,
Editor-in-Chief of the WELT AM SONNTAG

In recent days, I have witnessed the numerous attacks on Jewish places of worship, the clamour of mostly migrant demonstrators who pay homage to Hitler, approve of the Holocaust, call for the destruction of Israel and spread hatred of Jews. And I came to a sad realisation: perhaps it’s a matter of willingness. This state, this country, this government, this society may simply not want to eliminate anti-Semitism forever.

In Gelsenkirchen, young men with a migration background shouted “fucking Jew” in front of the synagogue, and across the country the threat “You Jews! Mohammed’s army will be back soon”. In Kreuzberg, the same mob openly demanded “attack Tel Aviv”; in Dresden, counter-demonstrators carrying Israeli flags were attacked. In Pankow, an Israeli flag was torched, in Würzburg one was torn from its pole. In Hanover, demonstrators tore up Israeli flags, in Solingen one burned. In Halle, demonstrators shouted “Takbir! Strike, strike Tel Aviv!”

These are people who feel encouraged in Germany to give free rein to their hatred of Jews. No wonder in a country where the Federal President congratulates the terrorist state of Iran on the “anniversary of the revolution”. In which a candidate for chancellor – Annalena Baerbock – publicly speaks out against supporting Israel with military technology. In which left-wing politicians show up supporting Jew-hatred demonstrations in Neukölln.

In which Ditib, an organisation of the Turkish president who is drifting into Islamism, is still not banned. In which the Social Democratic Party (SPD) parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich blames the country of Israel for anti-Semitic attacks in Germany. In which people pin a “Jewish star” to their chest because they think the government is behaving wrongly in the Corona crisis. In which the city of Hagen takes down an Israel flag that was hoisted to refer to the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany on May 12, 1965, because a few Jew-haters wanted it that way. […]

A country where Hamas terrorists are reliably referred to as “activists” in numerous media: on n-tv, in the “Tagesschau”, on “Spiegel Online”, in the “FAZ”, in the “Tagesspiegel”, in the “Frankfurter Rundschau”…

“Spiegel Online” placed the reasonably clear statement of the German Foreign Minister (“Israel … has the right to self-defence”) without comment and without any context next to that of the Iranian counterpart, who spoke of “criminal acts” by Israel. His country also supplies the weapons fired at Israel, that was missing as a small hint.

The “shitty Jews” shouting in front of the synagogue in Gelsenkirchen was turned into an “anti-Israeli demonstration” by this media from Hamburg, as if it had not been anti-Semitism but a critical confrontation with the only democracy in the Middle East.

The news agency dpa also reported the event in Gelsenkirchen – and managed not to mention the milieus from which the hatred of Jews emanated. Later, the agency added to its report that it had “not yet been able to say much” about the demonstrators.

Similarly, the news programme “Tagesschau”: “Whether it was immigrants, if so, what religious or cultural background they have, or whether right-wing radicals were involved in the crime, we simply don’t know.” Yet videos had long been public showing a zillion and almost exclusively people with an immigrant background. Meanwhile, broadcaster Deutsche Welle interviewed a pro-Palestinian activist as an expert. A staff member of broadcaster WDR asked on Twitter: “Dear God, make the old philosemites dead”, to which his employer responded apologetically: “a private tweet” that was “exaggeratedly formulated”. An acquittal can be that simple.

These days, two milieus in particular complement each other: people who have learned from their childhood, whether it was in Neukölln or in the West Bank, that Israel is to be hated, that Jews are to be detested and attacked. And above all, left-wing politicians and media who negate this attitude, who talk down the problem and too often even secretly agree with it.

It is the same mostly left-wing negligence that has led to some neighbourhoods in Germany being controlled by clans (all from the same, anti-Semitic milieu). The stance is seconded by international stars: Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai spoke out unilaterally against Israel, Greta Thunberg too.

There are a few approaches that show that things can be done differently, could be done differently. In Bonn, citizens take turns to sit in front of the synagogue to make sure nothing happens. The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) had its Israeli flag stolen, but hung up a new one, unimpressed. And some Germans took to the streets on Saturday to show solidarity, if not with Israel, at least with German Jews. All this is good, right, impressive. But I am sceptical whether it is enough.

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