In Germany, Anti-Semitism Comes from Both the Resurgent Far Right and the Muslim Immigrants It Despises

Oct. 24 2018

A populist hard right has emerged in Germany in recent years, driven by hostility toward both the European Union and mass immigration. Although its supporters are by no means uniformly anti-Semitic, it has left anti-Semites emboldened. Liam Hoare writes:

On August 27 at around 10 p.m., a mob numbering around a dozen approached the kosher restaurant Schalom in the eastern German town of Chemnitz. Far-right demonstrators had been marauding around the city center that day shouting, “Foreigners, out!” and, in some cases, giving the Hitler salute. Dressed in black, their faces covered, the gang descended upon Schalom—launching rocks, bottles, and a metal pipe. The building was damaged and the owner, Uwe Dziuballa, injured. “Judensau, hau ab aus Deutschland,” the assailants reportedly shouted—“Jewish pigs, get out of Germany.”

The day before, a thirty-five-year-old German man was stabbed and killed in Chemnitz during an altercation. Local police arrested two men, including a twenty-three-year-old Syrian refugee. Multiple demonstrations and counter-demonstrations broke out that evening. Packs of far-right thugs “hunted foreigners through the city streets,” the Guardian reported. . . . It is in this context that, the following day, Dziuballa’s restaurant Schalom was set upon. . . .

The far-right populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) [also] held its own rally in Chemnitz. . . . AfD politicians have . . . challenged the German national consensus regarding the country’s past. In January 2017, the regional AfD leader Björn Höcke called Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe a “memorial of shame” and said Germany needs to completely change its “memory politics.” One of their national leaders, Alexander Gauland, . . . landed himself in hot water for arguing Germans “have the right to be proud of the achievements of the German soldiers in two world wars.” . . .

Of course, anti-Semitism in contemporary Germany does not come from the far right alone. Anti-Semitism “is widespread in the refugee communities from Syria and Iraq,” a December 2017 study published by the American Jewish Committee found. . . . Incidents such as the assault on a twenty-one-year-old kippah-wearing Israeli by a nineteen-year-old Syrian refugee in Berlin led Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, to warn “against openly wearing a kippah in big German cities.”

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More about: Anti-Semitism, German Jewry, Germany, Immigration, neo-Nazis, Politics & Current Affairs

What Egypt’s Withdrawal from the “Arab NATO” Signifies for U.S. Strategy

A few weeks ago, Egypt quietly announced its withdrawal from the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a coalition—which also includes Jordan, the Gulf states, and the U.S.—founded at President Trump’s urging to serve as an “Arab NATO” that could work to contain Iran. Jonathan Ariel notes three major factors that most likely contributed to Egyptian President Sisi’s abandonment of MESA: his distrust of Donald Trump (and concern that Trump might lose the 2020 election) and of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman; Cairo’s perception that Iran does not pose a major threat to its security; and the current situation in Gaza:

Gaza . . . is ruled by Hamas, defined by its covenant as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” Sisi has ruthlessly persecuted the Brotherhood in Egypt. [But] Egypt, despite its dependence on Saudi largesse, has continued to maintain its ties with Qatar, which is under Saudi blockade over its unwillingness to toe the Saudi line regarding Iran. . . . Qatar is also supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, . . . and of course Hamas.

[Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim is one of the key “go-to guys” when the situation in Gaza gets out of hand. Qatar has provided the cash that keeps Hamas solvent, and therefore at least somewhat restrained. . . . In return, Hamas listens to Qatar, which does not want it to help the Islamic State-affiliated factions involved in an armed insurrection against Egyptian forces in northern Sinai. Egypt’s military is having a hard enough time coping with the insurgency as it is. The last thing it needs is for Hamas to be given a green light to cooperate with Islamic State forces in Sinai. . . .

Over the past decade, ever since Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power, Israel has also been gradually placing more and more chips in its still covert but growing alliance with Saudi Arabia. Egypt’s decision to pull out of MESA should give it cause to reconsider. Without Egypt, MESA has zero viability unless it is to include either U.S. forces or Israeli ones. [But] one’s chances of winning the lottery seem infinitely higher than those of MESA’s including the IDF. . . . Given that Egypt, the Arab world’s biggest and militarily most powerful state and its traditional leader, has clearly indicated its lack of confidence in the Saudi leadership, Israel should urgently reexamine its strategy in this regard.

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More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy