The German parliament is currently considering a bill that will punish anti-Semitic activity and that acknowledges the specific problem of anti-Semitism among migrants from Muslim countries—even allowing authorities to revoke their residency rights. Toward the end of 2017, the Bundestag also gave legal status to a definition of anti-Semitism that includes “placing collective responsibility on the Jewish people for Israel’s actions.” But, writes Eldad Beck, Germany still has a long way to go:
The German legal establishment’s problematic approach toward the issue of anti-Semitism was demonstrated this week in the city of Wuppertal, when the high court upheld a lower court’s ruling defining the firebombing of a synagogue as a criminal rather than as an anti-Semitic act. The firebombing in question was perpetrated by a group of three young Palestinians living in Germany in the summer of 2014, as Operation Protective Edge was raging in Gaza. Anti-Semitic riots were raging across Germany, drawing mainly Arab and Muslim crowds. The law-enforcement authorities failed to respond in any way.
When the perpetrators who hurled Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in Wuppertal were apprehended, they claimed it was an act of “protest against Israeli policy” and not, heaven forbid, an act of anti-Semitism, which would result in harsher punishment. The German judges sided with the perpetrators’ arguments time and time again, despite vocal protests from the German Jewish community. . . .
There is no doubt, [however], that Germany has become more cognizant in recent years, albeit in a limited fashion, of the fact that anti-Semitism is still alive and well in the country. Similarly, there is more acceptance of the fact that hatred of Israel is tantamount to hatred of Jews. . . . It is important and right to confront the anti-Semitism that exists in the Muslim Arab immigrant community, but it is a mistake to ignore the fact that anti-Semitism is still quite prevalent among large portions of mainstream German society—portions whose residency cannot be revoked.
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