Friday, May 14, 2021

Germany: Who Is Attacking the Synagogues?

Germany in November 1938: Kristallnacht

May  2021

A rhetorical question, of course. With the fighting heating up between the Israelis and the terrorists of Hamas in Gaza, Germany's synagogues require special protection. That's because they are being attacked.

No, the (German) Nazis have not returned to Germany. It's not the Storm Troopers answering the call of Adolf Hitler and Josef Goebbels to sack Jewish businesses and burn synagogues.

Officially, the German government has recognized Israel's right to defend itself against the terrorists who rule Gaza. The problem is that they keep allowing more people to enter the country who bring with them an age-old enmity for Jews. That is why, with the Israel-Palestinian conflict once again heating up, we see synagogues being targeted in Germany. Germany, like so many of its neighbors,  has a problem with "imported anti-Semitism", the last thing this country needs.

The below article from Deutsche Welle is translated by Fousesquawk.

Anti-Israel action

Federal President Steinmeier: "Jew-hatred (cannot) be tolerated."

The anti-Semitic attacks in Germany are causing consternation. Federal President Steinmeier speaks of crimes that must be prosecuted. Israel's ambassador worries about the safety of the Jewish community.

Rocks thrown at synagogues, burned flags with the Jewish Star of David: The hate and the anger against Jews in several German cities as a result of the Middle East conflict has outraged and alarmed German politicians. "Jew-hatred-from whomever it comes- we do not want and will not tolerate in our country," said Federal President Walter Steinmeier to "Bild"-Newspaper. Nothing justifies threats against Jews in Germany or attacks on synagogues in German cities. 

"Our basic law guarantees the right of expression and demonstration. But who burns flags with the Star of David and shouts anti-Semitic words on our streets is abusing not only the freedom to demonstrate, but is committing crimes, which must be prosecuted," explained Steinmeier.

Caption beneath photo: Police guard Bonn synagogue after attack on Tuesday. 

Similar to the Federal President, the federal government underlined the freedom to demonstrate. But who uses such protests to "scream out their Jew-hatred," abuses this right, said its spokesman, Steffen Seibert. The federal government will not tolerate anti-Semitic demonstrations.

Whoever protests in front of a synagogue or damages Jewish symbols, shows "that he is not criticizing a government, rather hatred toward a religion and those who are members of it," The government stands against that with all its might. Seibert emphasized that the federal government condemns every form of anti-Semitism, no matter, whether it comes from Islamic, extreme right, or extreme left circles.

Caption beneath photo: The Israeli ambassador, Jeremy Issacharoff, worries about the Jewish community in Germany.

The Israeli ambassador in Berlin called on Germany to take action. "I ask the German authorities urgently to do everything to safeguard the security of our community," said Jeremy Issacharoff to ARD. The Israeli government is very concerned about anti-Semitic acts like attacks on synagogues in Bonn, Münster, and other cities. "The conflict in the Middle East has nothing to do with the Jewish community here in Germany," emphasized Issacharoff.

Zero tolerance for attacks on synagogues

Germany's foreign minister, Heiko Maas, is appealing to all citizens, not to accept, "when people of the Jewish faith in Germany are held responsible for the events in the Middle East-in the streets as well as social media". 

The minister emphasizes:  "For attacks on synagogues, there can be zero tolerance in our country."  Maas further told the newspapers of the Funke Media Group:  "It is so sad that it is generally necessary. The State must, without any ifs and buts, guarantee the security of the synagogues."

The Representative of the Federal Government for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight Against Anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, spoke of terrifying images of destruction and suffering from the Middle East. "At the same time, 4,000 km away in Germany, we see violent rioters in front of synagogues, burning Israeli flags and openly chanting anti-Semitic words in a repulsive way. It is appalling how Jews in Germany are publically being held responsible for the actions of the Israeli government, with which they are completely uninvolved. That is pure anti-Semitism."

Solidarity with the Palestinians or criticism of the Israeli government are no justifications for violence, as has been seen in Bonn, Gelsenkirchen, and other German cities, Anti-Semitism Representative Klein Stein said in a statement.

In the Middle East, the violence between Israel and the radical Islamic organization, Hamas, is widening. Militant Palestinian organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad have fired more than 1600 rockets since Monday, according to Israeli information. As a result, at least 8 people have been killed and several hundred injured. In response, the Israeli Air Force bombarded targets in the Gaza Strip. 

Caption beneath photo: Israeli defenses stop rockets, which were fired from the  Gaza Strip at the town of Ashkelon

According to Palestinian sources, there were at least 119 people killed and several hundred injured. The trigger for the bloody exchange is the threatened forced eviction of about 30 Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, which Jewish Israelis claim.

Merkel stands by Israel's self-defense

Regarding the escalation in the Middle East, Government Spokesman Seibert explained that Chancellor Angela Merkel condemns the continuing rocket attacks against Israel in the sharpest (terms). "These are terror attacks with one goal, killing people and spreading fear indiscriminately and arbitrarily. Nothing justifies such terror. This rocket-firing must stop immediately. The Federal Government stands with Israel's right to self-defense against these attacks."

Against the backdrop of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, there have been several attacks against Jewish institutions in Germany. On (Wednesday night-Thursday morning), an unidentified person attacked the synagogue in Mannheim and destroyed a windowpane. A police patrol encountered a 20-year-old in the vicinity, who said he had been a witness to the incident.

Caption beneath photo: View of Mannheim synagogue

State Security is investigating and also examining the role of the young man. The police are again increasing presence at Jewish institutions in Mannheim. Mayor Christian Specht condemned the attack on site and expressed his solidarity with the Jewish community.

On Wednesday evening, police in Hanover broke up an anti-Israel gathering for violation of Corona-regulations. According to information from the police, around 550 people took part, two of whom attempted to burn an Israeli flag.

In Gelsenkirchen, the police stopped an announced anti-Israel demonstration. Some 180 people had set off from the square in front of the train station in the direction of the synagogue, in which there were anti-Semitic chants, the police reported. The Central Council of Jews in Germany posted a video on Twitter, in which the chants are heard.

An initial investigative success

Meanwhile, one suspected perpetrator has been identified. As police report, it is a 26-year-old German-Lebanese from Gelsenkirchen. State Security has set up an investigative commission to clear up details quickly, it said.

Caption beneath photo: On Thursday, there was already a protest in Munich against Israel's actions in the Middle East.

Police in Wurzburg reported that on (Wednesday night-Thursday morning), an unidentified man tore down an Israeli flag that was hanging in front of the State Council Office, from its mast and badly damaged it. In Berlin, unidentified person(s) stole an Israeli flag from the CDU- Central (Christian Democrat Party); In front of the Pankow (district in Berlin), unidentified persons(s) tried to set an Israel flag on fire that was hanging there.

Fight anti-Semitism with all tools

After the escalation of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Israeli flags in front of synagogues in Münster and Bonn were set on fire on (Tuesday night-Wednesday morning). In Bonn, the entrance area of the synagogue was damaged by thrown rocks; three suspects were arrested. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer declared, they would not tolerate," that on German soil, Israeli flags would be burned or Jewish institutions attacked". The CDU politician added, "We will fight anti-Semitic hate with all the tools of the rule of law."

Caption beneath photo:

Security precautions have also been sharpened in front of the synagogue in Frankfurt.

After the latest anti-Semitic incidents, the Green Party asked the minister to give an assessment of the situation to the Interior Committee of the Parliament. "We must do everything for Jews to be able to live in safety (in Germany)," said the Green Party interior expert, Irene Mihalic, in Berlin.

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