Jewish Groups in Germany Urge Government to Confront anti-Semitism After Recent Attacks

'Anti-Semitism, racism and Islamophobia cannot be equated,' reads the open letter signed by nearly 40 organizations

A member of Jewish community, before the trial of a Syrian charged with attacking an Arab-Israeli, Berlin, Germany, June 19, 2018.
\ HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/ REUTERS

Nearly 40 Jewish organizations in Germany have called on the government to confront anti-Semitism following a series of anti-Jewish attacks in the country.

The open letter, which was signed Monday by the groups as the Jewish Forum for Democracy and Anti-Semitism, calls for Germany to adhere to the International Alliance for Holocaust Remembrance’s definition of anti-Semitism and to take seriously the experiences of attack victims.

It also calls for recognition that anti-Semitism is an “an attack on the inviolability of human dignity and on the foundations of the entire liberal democratic community.”

“Anti-Semitism cannot be successfully fought as a mere subcategory of racism,” the statement says. “Anti-Semitism, racism and Islamophobia cannot be equated.”

The statement, written in German, also says that civil and religious groups that have requested or already receive public funding should only receive the funds if they have publicly distanced themselves from all forms of anti-Semitism, including Muslim organizations.

The German government has not publicly responded to the letter, according to the Deutsch Welle news service.

Over the weekend, a Jewish-Syrian man was assaulted in a Berlin park by a group of young adults and teens after they noticed he was wearing a Star of David. Days earlier a Syrian man, 19, was found guilty of an April attack against an Israeli man who was wearing a kippah on a Berlin street.

On Friday, the German government increased state benefits for the Central Council of Jews in Germany for the first time since 2011 while noting “the rise in anti-Semitism in our society.”