- In Germany, people of all faiths have come together to stand in solidarity with Jews who are facing persecution.
- The country that launched the “final solution” has come a long way, even appointing a government official to fight against anti-Semitism.
- But a recent attack on a man wearing a yarmulke in Germany is a stark reminder of the challenges ahead.
On Wednesday, thousands of Germans of all faiths donned kippas in solidarity with the Jewish community.
The march was prompted, in large part, by a recent attack on Adam Armoush, a 20-something Israeli Arab who told German media that he had put on the Jewish skullcap in an attempt to prove to his friend that wearing outward symbols of Jewish identity was in fact a safe thing to do in Germany.
A disturbing video showed the results of his experiment. A passerby began lashing Armoush with his belt, shouting “Yahudi,” which means Jew, in Arabic.
— Jüdisches Forum (@JFDA_eV) April 17, 2018
Berlin’s mayor, Michael Mueller, denounced the attack, saying that “anti-Semitism doesn’t belong in the Berlin we want to live in.”
Heiko Mass, the Minister of Foreign affairs, tweeted a picture of himself in a Kippa.
“We must never,” he said, “allow anti-Semitism to become commonplace again in Germany.”
Mit #BerlinträgtKippa soll heute ein Zeichen der Solidarität gesetzt werden. Gut so! Wenn junge Männer bedroht werden, nur weil sie eine Kippa tragen, müssen wir zeigen: sie sind nicht allein. Wir dürfen niemals zulassen, dass Antisemitismus in Deutschland wieder alltäglich wird. pic.twitter.com/B4svbYuNhh
— Heiko Maas ???????? (@HeikoMaas) April 25, 2018
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Israeli media that Germany is witnessing a new kind of anti-Semitism, which she blamed on refugees who are “of Arab origin.” She said that “in the new government, we have for the first time appointed a commissioner for Jewish life in Germany and in the fight against anti-Semitism.”
Though the idea an individual would be attacked for looking Jewish on the streets of Berlin might not sound entirely foreign, the reality is that the reaction to renewed anti-Semitism in Germany has been astounding.
The same country that created the Nuremberg laws is now engaging in an honest conversation about the darkest chapters of its history. Germany takes seriously its responsibility to educate its population about World War II and the Holocaust, and in Berlin, you can’t walk 10 feet without bumping into a plaque or a memorial commemorating the victims of Nazism.
But anti-Semitism is on the rise, and not just in Germany.
According to the Anti-Defamation league, “the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. rose 57% in 2017 – the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported” since the organisation started tracking the data in 1979.”
A study released earlier this month demonstrated that only a third of millennials knew what Auschwitz was. This country may have forgotten, but Germany remembers. And while we’re sounding the alarm on rising incidents of intolerance, we should pause and praise those that are doing their part to educate the next generation.
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