Jewish council slams Nazi-like campaign poster decision | News | DW | 31.07.2019
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Jewish council slams Nazi-like campaign poster decision

The council had accused an extreme-right party of propagating hate speech. Almost half of German Jews say they have considered emigrating following a rise in anti-Semitic violence in the country.

The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster (pictured above), has criticized prosecutors in the western city of Dortmund for dismissing charges of hate speech against a far-right group.

"If I am not prepared to use the full extent of the law to challenge the extreme-right, then the extreme-right will take that as pure encouragement," Schuster told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung daily on Wednesday.

The Right party had printed a poster during the 2019 European elections which was almost identical to an anti-Semitic poster from the Nazi era.

The extreme-right party's placard bore the slogan "Israel is our misfortune — Enough is Enough." 

Schuster and German Jewish organizations filed charges of hate speech, as this was almost identical to the "Jews are our misfortune" slogan used by the Nazis.

A regional court in Münster banned the poster but prosecutors said the campaign did not warrant a criminal investigation.

They argued that the slogan could be interpreted as a criticism of the State of Israel, and not as an incitement to hate crime against Jews living in Germany. The same conclusion was reached in Karlsruhe and Hanover.

"My hair stood on end when I heard the reasoning," Schuster said.

Watch video 02:36

Anti-Semitism in Germany on the rise

Normalizing hate crime

"Right wing parties will be able to adapt slogans from the Nazi era at the next election, without fear of any legal consequences," he added.

Read more: 'Solidarity Hoodie': Kippa-capped clothing challenges anti-Semitism

A man wearing a kippah

Members of the Jewish community living in Germany have reported a substantial rise in anti-Semitic attacks. Germans gathered in squares across the country and wore kippas in solidarity last summer

Representatives of the German-Israeli Society in Hanover have said they will appeal the decision. 

The number of anti-Semitic attacks in Germany increased by over 10% from 2017 to 2018, which has prompted almost half of the country's Jewish population to consider emigrating. Germans showed solidarity with the Jewish community in 2018 by wearing kippas on a march against anti-Semitism.

jns/rt (epd, dpa, AFP)

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