Especially Difficult Read/Anti-Semitism Incident in Germany

September 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm Leave a comment

Berliners rally to support attacked rabbi
Duetsche Welle 9/2/2012

Jews, Christians and Muslims took to the streets of Berlin on the weekend, in support of a rabbi who was brutally attacked last week. Rabbi Daniel Alter has praised the “wonderful outpouring of moral support.”

Alter joined around 1,500 demonstrators on Sunday near the scene of the attack in Berlin’s Schöneberg district.

It follows a rally on Saturday, when hundreds took to the streets wearing traditional Jewish skullcaps in a show of solidarity.

Alter was approached by several young men as he walked down the road with his 6-year-old daughter. They asked him whether he was Jewish and when he said yes, they beat him viciously and threatened to kill his child. The attackers presumably identified the victim as Jewish from the traditional skullcap, the “kippa” he was wearing.

The 53-year-old, who later underwent surgery for a cheekbone fracture, described his attackers as Arab-looking. They have not yet been found.

Berlin’s interior minister, Frank Henkel, again condemned Tuesday’s “cowardly attack“ on Saturday.

Domestic and international outrage

The news of the attack triggered a discussion whether Jews in general had to fear for their safety in the German capital.

The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, called Friday on the country’s large Muslim community to do more to combat anti-Semitism.

Aiman Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims, condemned the attack and professed solidarity and empathy with all Jews in Germany. Other Muslim associations joined in the condemnation of all religious hate and violence.

Evangelic Bishop Markus Dröge of Berlin warned Saturday against blanket accusations of violent anti-Semitism being prevalent among Muslims in Germany.

“We should not make the mistake of blaming this on religion,” he said, pointing to an affinity for violent behavior among socially disadvantaged young men independent of their beliefs.

Germany’s federal office for criminal investigation has registered 436 anti-Semitic attacks across the country this year. Most of them were property attacks such as swastika graffiti, or verbal abuse. The German news agency dpa reports thirteen attacks involving physical violence.

Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit opened the “night of religions” event in the German capital with an appeal for religious tolerance.

Catholic and Protestant churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship are open to the public until late at night.

German Jews slam Muslims for anti-Semitism


German Jewish leader calls on Muslims to tackle issueafter assault on Berlin rabbi and his young daughter.


BERLIN – After a Berlin rabbi and his young daughter were assaulted, the president of Germany’s Jewish community on Friday called on the country’s Muslim associations to tackle anti-Semitism within their communities and urged Jews to continue wearing kippot in public.

According to the Berlin police, four young Arabs punched Rabbi Daniel Alter several times in the face on Tuesday because he was Jewish and wearing a yarmulka, and threatened to kill his six-year-old daughter. Doctors performed surgery on Alter’s fractured cheekbone.

Dr. Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews, told the Berliner Zeitung on Friday, “I would be pleased if the [Muslim] associations would finally deal decisively with anti-Semitism in their own ranks.”

Observers of Germany’s response to Islamism have long argued that the media and the political class often display a blind spot toward Islamic-animated anti-Semitism among segments of the country’s more than four million Muslims.

The Frankfurter Rundschau daily wrote regarding the attack on Alter that rightwing extremists were mainly responsible for anti-Semitism in the country. In response, US writer Sam Schulman wrote on his Twitter microblog that “Germany lies to itself.”

Schulman tweeted that his concerns were with authorities and media that deny the threats stemming from Muslim communities in Germany.

A telling example, according to columns in the B.Z. and Haaretz newspapers, that reinforces Schulman’s criticism was the lack of politicians at a pro-Israel event held to criticize the calls for the destruction of the State of Israel issued at a pro-Iranian regime rally in Berlin last month. The pro- Iran rally attracted a mix of more than 1,000 German Turks, Arabs and Iranians.

B.Z. and the Berliner Zeitung are different newspapers.

According to the Berliner Zeitung, Aiman Mazyek, head of the Central Council of Muslims, said in connection with the attack on Alter that “such acts cause deep disgust.”

Responding to Mazyek, Graumann said, “Words and sympathy are nice and meant to be honest, but deeds would also count.”

In an interview with Alter, the B.Z. daily quoted him saying “I do not know whether we can continue to walk on the streets of Berlin without fear.”

The 53-year-old rabbi said one of the four Arab-looking youths who attacked him first asked him, “Hey, are you a Jew?” Alter said the youths threatened him and his daughter with such statements as, “I’ll f*** your daughter… your wife and I’ll f***… your God.”

Alter said preachers of hate were responsible for inciting the youths.

B.Z. wrote that Alter’s wife, Hannah, and his two daughters were being treated by a child psychologist in connection with the trauma of Tuesday’s attack.

Paul Hirschon, a spokesman at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, called the attack a “brutal act of racism,” adding that “we hope and believe that Germany will bring those responsible to justice.”

He noted that Israel assumes that the German state will implement the necessary measures to prevent “such an act of violence from repeating itself.” An estimated 150,000 Jews live in Germany.

Graumann and a prominent Berlin Orthodox rabbi, Yitzhak Ehrenberg, rejected the call of a reform rabbi to not wear kippot in public and for religious Jews to shield their identities. According to a Die Welt article on Saturday, the Israeli-born Ehrenberg dismissed the statements of the Potsdam-based rabbi, Walter Homolka, as “not good advice.” Ehrenberg explained the importance of wearing a kippa and urged Jews not to make themselves invisible in public.

The Central Council of Jews has had extremely tense relations with Homolka – who converted to Judaism – over the years because of his views on modern Jewry.

The assault on Alter has filled Berlin’s local papers with coverage on anti-Semitism, and prompted a flash mob kippa march on Saturday in the main shopping district. B.Z. titled its front page “Berlin wears a kippa,” and 150 demonstrators appeared at the rally to protest the outbreak of anti- Jewish violence. A mix of Jews and non-Jews sported kippot to express their solidarity with the victims of Tuesday’s attack and make a statement against anti-Semitism.


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Update – Iran and North Korea 10 BEST OF THE BLOG + UPDATE

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