German politicians alarmed by rising anti-Semitism in France | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 24.02.2019
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Germany

German politicians alarmed by rising anti-Semitism in France

In France, home to Western Europe's largest Jewish community, anti-Semitic attacks rose to 74 percent last year. Germany and Britain, too, have seen an uptick in anti-Semitic incidents in the past few months.

Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in an interview with the German Welt am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday he's concerned about a sharp rise in anti-Semitic attacks in France.

"The anti-Semitic incidents in France are disturbing and frightening for the Jewish community in Germany also," Schuster said.

Read more: Opinion: Paris attack and Europe's history of anti-Semitism

In a meeting with Jewish community leaders on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron admitted that anti-Semitism in France had grown manifold in recent years "and the situation has got worse in recent weeks."

Macron said he had urged the Interior Ministry to take steps to ban racist or anti-Semitic groups in the country.

Read more: Did anti-Semites infiltrate France's yellow vests?

France is not the only EU country experiencing a spike in anti-Semitic acts; both Germany and Britain have also reported an uptick last year, reaching a record 1,652 in the UK.

Manfred Weber, a leading candidate of the conservative European People's Party (EEP) for the May 2019 European Parliament elections, insisted that political countermeasures must be taken to tackle anti-Semitism in a number of EU member states.

"I will initiate a joint initiative in the European Parliament to send a clear message that anti-Semitism has no place in Europe," Weber, who is also a member of the Christian Social Union party in Bavaria, told Welt am Sonntag.

Read more: German jump in anti-Semitic crimes 'worrying, but no surprise'

Watch video 02:02

Protests against anti-Semitism

German politicians concerned

Christian Linder, leader of Germany's Free Democratic Party (FDP), believes anti-Semitism in Germany is penetrating the "guise of Israel criticism." He suggested that the state should not support any NGO (non-governmental organization) that demands the boycott of Israeli products or businesses.

Josef Schuster of the Central Council of Jews says far too many anti-Semite incidents go unregistered in Germany. "We need to broaden and improve the mechanism of recording anti-Semitic incidents to get a realistic picture," he said.

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said it would be "shameful for all of us" if Jews in Europe feel afraid again.

"Every single attack on Jews is an attack on our liberal democracy," he added.

Federal Minister of Justice Katarina Barley described the fight against anti-Semitism as a collective task for the entire society.

Some German politicians also believe it is important to analyze the hatred for Jews emanating from "a part of the migrants" that have come to Europe from the Arab world.

Read more: Reuven Firestone: Muslims and Jews are 'manipulated by fear'

Watch video 04:48

Conference to Battle Anti-Semitism in German Football

shs/aw (AFP, KNA)

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