Dhe anti-Semitism endangers the free democratic society according to the words of the anti-Semitism commissioner of the federal government, Felix Klein. “Anti-Semitic movements are on the up again,” criticized Klein on Monday. He referred to the attacks in Halle and Hanau. Anti-Semitism is by no means solely a matter of the “extreme fringes”. Somewhat more than half of the population believe in “conspiracy myths” with regard to the pandemic and “hostility towards Jews is at the core of such stories”. Thus, anti-Semitism is not only a problem for Jewish people, but also endangers the cohesion of society as a whole. In addition, the point of view of the victims of anti-Semitic attacks must be heard more closely and included, said Klein. In Klein’s view, the situation of the Jews is an indicator of how things stand with society and its promise of security and freedom for all.
“Anti-Semitic movements are on the up again,” criticized the government commissioner. He referred to the attacks in Halle and Hanau. Anti-Semitism is by no means solely a matter of the “extreme fringes”. Somewhat more than half of the population believe in “conspiracy myths” with regard to the pandemic – and “hostility towards Jews is at the core of such stories”. Thus, anti-Semitism is not only a problem for Jewish people, but also endangers the cohesion of society as a whole.
Klein went on to say that anti-Semitic crimes must be recognized quickly and punished consistently. Public prosecutors would need more capacity for this. This also applies to the application of the law against hatred and agitation on the Internet. There is also a need for better cooperation at EU level in the fight against anti-Semitism on the Internet.
Klein demanded that the new federal government pass the law to strengthen defensive democracy in order to give civil society organizations a long-term perspective through funding. The planned law, which for the first time was supposed to enable the federal government to permanently finance initiatives to promote democracy, had failed in the grand coalition in June of this year. The SPD blamed the resistance of the Union parties for this at the time. The anti-Semitism commissioner of the FDP parliamentary group, Benjamin Strasser, expressed his agreement: “We support Felix Klein’s call to increase funding for the fight against anti-Semitism and to better network the state agencies with civil organizations. It is time for the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism to be made the standard across the board in our authorities, “said Strasser.
Klein also called for a “defense of the culture of remembrance”. For this, memorial sites would have to be financed on a permanent basis. He referred to important memorial days in the coming years such as the eightieth anniversaries of the Wannsee Conference and the liberation of Auschwitz. They are important because there are fewer and fewer contemporary witnesses. Precisely for this reason it is essential to strengthen elements that “develop empathy” for the future.
The chairwoman of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, Anetta Kahane, complained about an increase in anti-Semitic attacks. She called for action against all forms, whether from the left, from the right, from migrant milieus or from Muslim communities. She also urged tougher criminal prosecution, as well as a ban on anti-Semitic organizations, not least from the Islamic milieu. Anti-Semitism is a “cultural technique” to relieve you of your own responsibility.
Further research into anti-Semitism as a “deeper concept” is necessary, Kahane said. Religious fanaticism and Christian traditions also played a role. Kahane criticized that in the art and culture scene with a view to the BDS movement, Israel-related anti-Semitism was being questioned. With a view to the Gil Ofarim case, she lamented “hair-raising anti-Semitic reactions”. Klein and Kahane accused the lateral thinker scene of relativizing the Shoah and anti-Semitic stereotypes. It is “openly anti-Semitic and very violent,” said Kahane.