The Wall Street Journal
Merkel Condemns Growth
Of Anti-Semitic Incidents
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday sharply condemned anti-Semitic incidents in Germany and Europe, calling for courage to stand up against such attacks and make Germany a home for all people regardless of their religious beliefs.
“That people in Germany get mobbed again, threatened and attacked when they let themselves be recognized as Jews or when they speak out in favor of the state of Israel is an outrageous scandal,” she said in an address at a rally against anti-Semitism organized by the Central Council of Jews. “I don’t accept this; we all here don’t accept this.”
Thousands met under a banner reading “Stand Up: Jew Hatred—Never Again!” in a gathering near the Brandenburg Gate weeks after Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip was followed by numerous anti-Semitic incidents, including a mob hounding a Jewish couple in Berlin and the beating up of Jews in Hamburg and Frankfurt.
Germany, home to more than 100,000 Jews, wasn’t the only place in Europe to record such incidents, but anti-Semitic attacks 75 years after the beginning of World War II bring back painful memories of a country that masterminded the Holocaust and the killing of six million Jews.
Most Jewish institutions in Germany have 24-hour police protection and employ private security staff. “We want Jews to feel safe in this country. They should feel that this country is our common home…in which all people who live here have a good future ahead,” Ms. Merkel said. “With this rally we give an important signal, a signal against anti-Semitism, against extremism and against any kind of hostility. We give a signal for respect, respect for the religious faith and the culture of others, regardless whether they are Jews, Muslims or Christians—a sign for peace and thriving together in this country.”
Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the gathering that the summer saw horrible waves of anti-Semitism in the country and courage against such sentiments is needed.
“I don’t want to dramatize or trivialize, but these have really been the worst anti-Semitic slogans on German streets for many, many decades,” he said.
The rally was also attended by Germany’s President Joachim Gauck, who holds a mostly ceremonial post, and many members of Ms. Merkel’s cabinet as well as the head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.