Jewish group urges action to combat rampant Muslim anti-Semitism in Germany

A new AJC study shows anti-Semitism is rampant among Muslims in Germany, and these beliefs are manifested on the streets. The Jewish advocacy group urges educational measures to combat this threat.  

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Anti-Semitism is prevalent among Muslim refugees in Germany, a study commissioned by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) shows.

Anti-Semitic attitudes and rejection of Israel are widespread among the newcomers.

The new scientific analysis shows that the problem is widespread in the refugee communities from Syria and Iraq. Anti-Semitic attitudes, stereotypes, and conspiracy theories are common, as well as a categorical rejection by many of the State of Israel.

The study was conducted in Berlin by Dr. Günther Jikeli, a historian and expert on anti-Semitism who teaches at Indiana University and the University of Potsdam. It is based on interviews with 68 refugees aged 18 to 52 from the two countries. A follow-up study by the researcher with 85 additional respondents confirms the results.

Findings Not Surprising

“This study should send a wake-up call to government and civil society. Our political leaders must make certain that anti-Semitic attitudes will not be tolerated and that infractions of the law will be prosecuted. In addition, the classes that newcomers take to integrate them into German life should include information about Jewish life in Germany and the country’s connections with Israel, as well as values of liberal democracy,” AJC Berlin Director Deidre Berger said. “Given the depth of anti-Jewish hostility in Arab countries, this is not surprising; nonetheless, the dimensions of the problem are much larger than expected.”

Over one million Muslim immigrants have arrived in Germany since the summer of 2015.

Even so, Berger noted, “the study showed that some refugees hold considerably more nuanced positions than others. In particular, those who were persecuted as minorities in Syria and Iraq take clearer stances against anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel.”

Some of those interviewed also indicated growing doubts about at least some anti-Semitic stereotypes when confronted with information about Jews, Israel and the Holocaust. “This shows the critical need for more educational measures,” Berger said.

‘Death to the Jews’ in Berlin

Publication of this study comes against the backdrop of a new wave of anti-Semitic hate protests in Berlin and Munich in reaction to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Demonstrators of Arab and Turkish origin burned Israeli flags, chanted anti-Semitic slogans and flew the flags of the terrorist organization Hamas. Witnesses reported hearing anti-Semitic chants in both Arabic and German, including shouts of “Death to the Jews.”

President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday received a phone call from German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who conveyed his sincere condemnation of what he noted were deeply distressing expressions of anti-Semitism witnessed during a wave of anti-Israel activities in Berlin over the past week. Steinmeier told Rivlin that such acts of hatred and racism had no place in Germany, and condemned them outright. He explained about the ongoing activity by the German authorities and security forces to combat racism and prosecute the perpetrators.

Rivlin noted that anti-Semitism was a threat to all society, and assured him that Israel stood with Germany in the fight against hatred and racism.

In the wake of these recent developments, Berger said, “We are thankful that Chancellor Merkel has clearly condemned this hatred. What we need now is clear political action.”

AJC has repeatedly urged the German government to appoint a Federal Commissioner for Anti-Semitism Affairs to coordinate government responses to anti-Semitism and to step up prevention measures.