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'Jewish leaders congratulated Angela Merkel on her election to a fourth term as German chancellor while decrying the rise of Germany’s newest right-wing populist party, which for the first time will enter the national parliament.
The Alternative for Germany Party, or AfD, finished third with 13.1 percent of the popular vote, according to early election results. The party, which was founded in 2013, is likely to have 94 seats in the 631-member Bundestag.
Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union won with what is being seen as a week 32.9 percent of the vote, followed by the Social Democratic Party, with what observers have called a poor showing of 20.8 percent.'Moshe Kantor, president of the Brussels-based European Jewish Congress, remarks:
“We trust that centrist parties in the Bundestag will ensure that the AfD has no representation in the coming governing coalition”and notes that Merkel has
“shown tremendous courage and conviction in her support of the revival of Jewish life in Germany”and is a
“strong supporter of the State of Israel.”Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, opines that while Muslims are the AfP's target now,
“I am convinced that when the topic of Muslims is no longer interesting, and it becomes politically and socially opportune to switch to another minority, they could easily do so. And I include Jews in that number”.Sergey Lagodinsky, a Green Party activist and member of the Berlin Jewish Community Council, explains that, to quote the JTA,
'the rise of the AfD was lamentable and yet not a surprise, given public discontent on economic and political levels. Chief among their concerns is the way the government has handled the influx of more than 1.5 million refugees since mid-2015, a majority of them Muslim. Another major concern is the economic future of Germany’s industrial regions.
“The AfD places more emphasis on majorities than on safeguards for minorities, and this is the difference between their outlook and the outlook of many parties,” Lagodinsky said, adding that the party has racist undertones and “appeals to people who feel that their future is not secure.”For Jews, what is especially significant about the AfD is its position against ritual circumcision and ritual slaughter, which affects both Muslims and Jews.And “It is also a party that wants a 180-degree turnaround of the commemoration policy” of the crimes of the Holocaust, Lagodinsky said.'
Joining the chorus of tributes to Merkel is American businessman Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress.
“I have met with Chancellor Merkel on many occasions over the course of her 12-year leadership, and witnessed firsthand her sincere and unyielding commitment to combating anti-Semitism and defending the State of Israel. She is a true friend of both Israel and the Jewish people.
Anti-Semitism - both on the far right, and with its new mask of anti-Zionism on the far left – is rising across the globe, including in parts of Germany.
It is abhorrent that the AfD party, a disgraceful reactionary movement which recalls the worst of Germany’s past and should be outlawed, now has the ability within the German parliament to promote its vile platform.
Amid these disturbing trends, Chancellor Merkel has shown remarkably strong signals of dedication to protecting the Jewish citizens of her country and cracking down on hateful rhetoric and action.
Germany already has some of the strongest laws against hate speech in the world, and the German government, under Chancellor Merkel, recently put into place even stronger policies to combat anti-Semitism in its various forms, both on social media and in the public sphere.
Germany announced just last week the honorable decision to adopt a new and far-reaching definition of anti-Semitism in line with the international definition proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and an unprecedented law will go into force in Germany next month imposing fines on social media networks that fail to remove 'manifestly unlawful' hate speech content within 24 hours.
Merkel’s government last year declared BDS to be ‘coarse anti-Semitism’, reminiscent of the Nazi boycotts against Jews in the years leading up to the Holocaust, and she has said unequivocally that desecration of Jewish property is an attack on Germany and its culture.
These are all critical measures for identifying, measuring, and dealing with anti-Semitism, no matter how trivial the manifestation may seem.
The World Jewish Congress is encouraged by Chancellor Merkel’s dedication and confident that she will continue with these crucial efforts in support of the Jewish community and the State of Israel, and resist any attempts to the contrary within her own parliament.
We wish Chancellor Merkel success in her upcoming term and look forward to many more years of friendship.”All well and good, but Lauder has ignored the elephant in the room, and there are no prizes for guessing what that is.
Ignoring the consequences of Merkel's wilful importation into Germany of a million or so unvetted Muslims, the majority young men of military age from some of the most benighted societies on earth not only in regard to western democratic values and the rights of women, but towards the Jews as human beings, may well prove to be more perilous for Jews in the long run, perhaps indeed in the not-so-long run, than dangers the AfD may pose.
The most decent of citizens might be tempted to join the party when faced with this sort of thing:
Josef Schuster, quoted above, was quoted thus recently:
"In some districts in major cities, I'd advise people not to identify themselves as Jews. Experience has shown that openly wearing a kippa or a necklace with the Star of David is enough to attract verbal or physical threats.
The word 'Jew' is used as a term of abuse in schools and on the sports field," he said. "It's quite widespread - we're not talking about a few individual cases."
He added that levels of anti-Semitism were particularly high among Muslim students, and that there was a need for Islamic associations and schools to do more to counteract this kind of prejudice.
"The whole of society needs to take the problem of Muslim anti-Semitism very seriously, while at the same time avoiding casting suspicion on all Muslims."Benjamin Weinthal of the Jerusalem Post reported in June that a 201-page report just released, based on a poll conducted during 2016 by the Hanns Seidel think tank affiliated with the Bavarian-based Christian Social Union party among nearly 800 asylum-seekers from Syria, Eritrea, Iraq and Afghanistan in the cities of Nuremberg, Poing und Pliening, showed
'More than half of Muslim asylum seekers showed clear tendencies of an antisemitic attitude pattern...
When asked by the investigators if “Jews have too much influence in the world,” 52% of Syrians said yes, while 53% of Iraqis agreed with the statement. Nearly 60% of Afghans said Jews wield too much influence, while a mere 5.4% of those from Eritrea – a Christian-majority country – held antisemitic views. Some Eritreans said they were familiar with Jews from the Bible.The number of Germans who affirmed the antisemitic statement about Jewish influence was 20%. In April, however, a new German government report revealed 40% of the German public hold a modern antisemitic view: the hatred of Israel.
The Seidel study said “the decisive factor that explains antisemitic opinions is one’s religious group. Antisemitism in all age groups and educational background of Muslim asylum seekers,” is anchored in the educational system of the refugees’ countries of origin. A Syrian refugee named Mustafa said that “In Syria we were taught to hate a Jews a little bit. The government presented Jews as bad [people] who kill...”
.... In 2015, a German intelligence report on the absorption of refugees and migrants stated: “We are importing Islamic extremism, Arab antisemitism, national and ethnic conflicts of other peoples as well as a different societal and legal understanding.”The document added: “German security agencies... will not be in the position to solve these imported security problems and thereby the arising reactions from the Germany’s population.”
A senior level security official said ...“We are producing extremists through immigration. Mainstream civil society is radicalizing, because the majority don’t want migration and they are being forced by the political elite.”'Indeed, the political elite seems to be doing all it can to conceal the extent of antisemitism in Germany (and not only in German, of course, as the attempted suppression earlier this year of a film on antisemitism in France and Germany shows).
German-based Weinthal reported in the Post earlier this month that despite multiple attacks on a synagogue in Ulm, the authorities refused to label the incidents antisemitsm, causing the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Rabbi Avraham Cooper to comment in disgust:
“Once again it appears we have a situation of denial of antisemitism by important authorities in Germany. First, it was the judicial system that denied that throwing Molotov cocktails at synagogue in Wuppertal constitutes an antisemitic attack. Now, it appears that the local authorities led by the police in Ulm refuse to treat attacks on a synagogue as antisemitism. Such outrageous attitudes and decisions constitute a threat to the safety of every in Jew in Germany and every Jewish institution.”here:
'A debate rages among American Jews as to whether right-wing or left-wing anti-Semitism poses the greater danger. Germany has come up with a novel solution to this dilemma that will undoubtedly delight denialists of the left-wing version: Simply redefine Jew-hatred as a “politically motivated right-wing extremist crime,” and by definition, you’ve eliminated all other kinds of anti-Semitism.
Last week, the German Interior Ministry released a report on anti-Semitism which stated that during the first eight months of this year, a whopping 92 percent of anti-Semitic incidents were committed by right-wing extremists. That sounded suspicious for two reasons, which I’ll get to later, but since I don’t speak German, I couldn’t scrutinize the report for myself. Fortunately, the German daily Die Welt found the results equally suspicious, and this week, Benjamin Weinthal of the Jerusalem Post reported on some of the problems it flagged.
Weinthal explained that in a federal report on anti-Semitism issued by the German government earlier this year, “the crime of ‘Jew-hatred’ is classified in the category of ‘politically motivated right-wing extremist crime.’” But once Jew-hatred has been declared a right-wing crime by definition, most of its perpetrators will inevitably be classified as far-right extremists, even if they shouldn’t be.
Die Welt cited one particularly blatant example from summer 2014 when Israel was at war with Hamas in Gaza. The war sparked numerous anti-Israel protests, and during one, 20 Hezbollah supporters shouted the Nazi slogan “Sieg Heil” at pro-Israel demonstrators in Berlin. Hezbollah supporters are Islamic extremists, not neo-Nazis, even if they chose to taunt German Jews by hurling Nazi slogans at them. Nevertheless, the incident was classified as a far-right extremist crime, thereby neatly removing a case of Islamic anti-Semitism from the statistics.
There are two good reasons for thinking the linguistic acrobatics, in this case, represents the rule rather than the exception.... First, a 2014 study of 14,000 pieces of hate mail sent over a 10-year period to the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the Israeli embassy in Berlin found that only three percent came from far-right extremists....
Second, in other Western European countries, Islamic extremists are a major source of anti-Semitic crime. Thus it’s hard to believe that Germany–which, as several terror attacks over the last two years have shown, is hardly devoid of such extremists–would be the one exception to this rule. In contrast, it’s easy to believe the German government would manipulate its definitions to downplay Islamic anti-Semitism because German courts have already done the same....'[Emphasis added]
Be sure to read all of her article! (You too, Ron Lauder! You too.)