Last Monday the EU published a survey about Antisemitism in Europe. For Germany, the results are especially shameful. 89 percent of German Jewish participants see a rise in Jew hatred. 75 percent avoid wearing Jewish symbols in public, 41 percent experienced Antisemitism in the past year – putting Germany at the European forefront.
How could this happen? An Analysis:
The survey’s results are no surprise. Neither is Germany’s leading position. Instead of asking 1000 Jews in Germany, read the newspapers three days in a row.
It is known that the anti-Semitic virus never fully left Europe, including Germany. But the virus mutated. What used to stem from the racist brown swamp, today has more diverse causes.
Ghosts of the past
Twelve years of anti-Semitic propaganda by the Nazi regime left their traces. Anti-Semitic information spread by the “Stürmer” and the “Völkischer Beobachter” alone, until today are haunting many minds and are passed on to next generations in too many families. Endless books, caricatures, films and jokes have lived on throughout the decades. “Mein Kampf” is accessible for everyone.
Of course, current anti-Semitic tendencies are quantitively blown out of proportions through Muslim immigrants, many of whom have been educated to hate Jews since they were little. The imported anti-Semitism however turned dangerous due to many years of tacit acceptance by the political establishment and society. Almost half of the Germans “can understand that you dislike Jews in light of Israel’s policies” (Anti-Semitism study commissioned by the German Bundestag in 2017). Only recently, politicians started calling Israel-related Jew hatred by its name.
The Six Day War in 1967 ended not only with Israel’s victory, but also with the defeat of Soviet weapons. Causing an unprecedented propaganda war against Israel and an anti-Semitic campaign inside the Soviet Union. This propaganda was first carried into West-German universities by communist parties like the DKP or KPD Until today, and then spread throughout the entire leftist spectrum.
Until today the left propagates a distorted narrative about the Middle East conflict – and in parts does not shy away from proximity to Islamist terror organizations like Hamas.
Most commentators oversee the psychological causes of modern Anti-Semitism in Germany. The discourse after 1945 was not only one of collective guilt – many Germans personally suffered from the guilt feelings about the Holocaust. Criticism of Israel brought psychological discharge. Especially the claim that Israel enacts a policy of ethnical cleansing of Palestinians, whose population has quadrupled since 1948.
Unfortunately, such anti-Semitic resentment-fueling narratives are often transported by media – like the „Süddeutsche Zeitung“ or „Der Spiegel“ – sometimes via clear caricatures, sometimes via one-sided formulations. In the morally best case, written by young editors who often uncritically take over passages distributed by Palestinian propaganda.
What to do?
Quit the chronical lack of phantasy. Sending students to concentration camp memorial sites is not enough. A stay at a Kibbutz in Israel will weaken the A-Virus sustainably. It de-pathologizes. Further, Israel should no longer be reduced to the Middle East conflict in curricula, just like Judaism should no longer be reduced to the Holocaust.
The fact that Jewish inventions helped Germany rise to become an industrial power after WWI, that Jewish soldiers were awarded medals of bravery in WWI, that Germany’s impressive cultural heritage was co-authored by Jews – should be basic knowledge for German students.
Anti-Semitism – whether as nasty gimmick in pop-culture like in the example of Farid & Kollegah, a popular German Rapper-Duo whose texts are filled with anti-Semitic allusions, whether in forms of hate speech in the internet or in pro-Palestinian demonstrations – has to be punished more consequently.
The ‘fight against Anti-Semitism 2.0’ is overdue. Otherwise, the A-Virus will keep mutating and spread its destructive forces in Germany’s society and democracies.
Originally published in German.