German Jewish groups outraged as government creates a new commission on anti-Semitism without including any Jews in it.
Julius Schoeps from the Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies called it “a unique scandal” that the Interior Ministry didn’t include any Jewish scientists or community leaders on the commission it created to fight anti-Semitism and support Jewish life in Germany.
Schoeps announced that his center, in cooperation with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Amadeu Antonio Foundation against anti-Semitism and racism, would create an alternative commission that would stress the Jewish perspective and include both Jewish and non-Jewish experts.
Anetta Kahane from the Amadeu Antonio Foundation also criticized the government for neglecting to call Jewish experts on the eight-person committee.
“Nobody would even think of creating a conference on hatred of Islam without Muslims or a round table on the discrimination of women without women,” said Kahane, according to AP.
A spokeswoman for Germany’s interior ministry told AP that the question of religious affiliation of the experts on the commission was not a criterion in the selection process.
The spokeswoman, who did not give her name in line with department policy, added that the commission would listen to and invite various Jewish groups during the process.
The final report by the new commission is scheduled to be handed over to Germany’s parliament within two years, noted AP. It is supposed to be the basis for a discussion on how to tackle anti-Semitism.
The anti-Semitic violence that has been on the rise in Europe has also reared its ugly head in Germany where, during last summer’s war in Gaza, protesters waving Palestinian Authority flags and pictures of late PA leader Yasser Arafat shouted anti-Semitic slogans at rallies against Israeli military action.
Exclaiming “Allahu Akbar” (God is great), crowds in Berlin have reportedly yelled “Death to Israel” and chanted “Zionists are fascists, killing children and civilians”.
In one particularly shocking video, thousands of demonstrators can be heard chanting “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come on out and fight on your own”.
To top that, a Berlin imam has openly prayed for the annihilation of Zionist Jews, asking Allah to “kill them to the very last one.”
Another anti-Semitic incident occurred in November, when the mayor of the German city of Dortmund asked authorities to ban the neo-Nazi ‘Die Rechte’ party, after it reportedly demanded that the mayor send a list of the city’s Jews, a request that the mayor promptly refused.
A poll released last November found that German anti-Semitism and resentment towards Israel had risen sharply over a period of several months.
The commission marks the second time the German government has installed a commission to deal with anti-Semitism. Some Jewish leaders have criticized the earlier commission’s report, released in 2011, for not bringing about any changes for the situation of Jews in Germany.