Photo Credit: Daniel Ullrich, Threedots / Wikimedia
Yellow badge Star of David called "Judenstern". Part of the exhibition in the Jewish Museum Westphalia, Dorsten, Germany. The wording is the German word for Jew (Jude), written in mock-Hebrew script.

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

Finally, it seems, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is proposing legislation that might even include deporting migrants who are anti-Semites, according to Die Welt.

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The alarming scale of anti-Semitism in Germany has been escalating with newly arrived refugees, mainly from Muslim lands, and causing the government previously to launch a desperate integration program with a warning that this kind of hatred would not be tolerated in the country.

The German government also decided to introduce extensive discussions about Germany’s Nazi past in the course designed to make newcomers integrate into democratic societies.

The situation seemed to be getting out of control with escalating anti-Semitism among more than a million asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Teachers familiar with the curriculum, however, predict a bleak future for the efforts to convince the Muslim refugees about European history of Nazi Germany: most of them are already drunk with the anti-Semitic propaganda spread across the Muslim world by Nazi-sympathizing Islamists.

The course book introduced by Federal Bureau for Immigration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, BAMF), carries a full chapter and other small sections about the Holocaust and the atrocities committed by Nazi regime against Jewish citizens of Europe.

A senior teacher for the integration course, requesting anonymity, told this author that she finds most of the Muslim participants struggling to understand the Nazi crimes, with many of them soft towards Nazis or assuming that the Jews were to be blamed for Holocaust instead of being the victims of it.

One chapter, titled, Eine Zeitzeugin Berichtet (“An Eyewitness Reports”), narrates the ordeal of a Holocaust survivor, Magda Hollander-Lafon.

Ms Lafon, an Auschwitz survivor, narrates how her mother and sister were gassed to death while she endured unspeakable torture, hunger and thirst to survive the horrors.

The teachers, however, always hear from some of the Muslim students that the Jews must have been responsible for being treated that way because they had opposed the Nazi regime.

Many of them believe, she said, that each and every Jew is responsible for the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Many participants in these Muslim integration courses, in fact, seem to justify the acts of Nazis by associating their own Muslim hatred against Jews concerning the Palestine issue.

The situation also becomes even more surreal when the majority of the Muslim students in class are faced with face counter-arguments from other participants, who are now in minority in these integration classes.

A Syrian-Jewish young man, for instance, came forward to counter the claim of Middle Eastern students that the Muslim regimes in their lands provided equal safety and respect to non-Muslim citizens.

The young man from Damascus, also seeking anonymity, explained that life is hell for Jews, Christians and citizens of other religious minorities in most Muslim countries, including Syria.

He added that the local tiny Jewish community in Damascus lived under constant threat of robberies, extortion and abductions; that he himself had twice been a victim of abduction for ransom, and that each time his family had to pay a heavy ransom to Islamists to buy his freedom after his abductors had threatened to kill him if the money were not paid.

He said that Jewish immigrants who reached Germany and Europe do not feel safe inside the migrant camps where majority of the immigrants have hostile views towards Jews.

He added that this fear was why the majority of Middle Eastern Jews abstain from revealing their identities to the people around them, and try to look for some relatives or volunteers who are willing to give them shelter for a while.

In the meantime, the recent marches organized by Islamists in Berlin as a response to US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel revealed the real face of Islamists. They burned images of the Star of David and chanted anti-Israel slogans while burning Israeli flags — exposing the deep-rooted hatred and racism of many Muslims, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government seemed baffled by the extreme demonstration of anti-Semitism by those protesting President Trump’s decision.

Such an incontrovertible display of anti-Semitism made Chancellor Merkel and then Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière warn everyone that Germany will not tolerate any kind of anti-Semitism.

The incident, however, was just tip of the iceberg: Jewish citizens in Germany face horrific harassment during their day-to-day life in public places and schools.

In Berlin, a 14-year- old Jewish boy was forced to change schools after increasing bullying and intimidation by pupils of Turkish and Arab descent. After his fellow students discovered that he is a Jew, he was threatened with a fake pistol and subjected to intense verbal abuse.

In addition, Mekan Kolasinac, a local politician in the city of Saarlouis of the Left Party, which is known for its anti-Israel views, branded the party’s federal head, Bernd Riexinger, a “sneaky Jew” in a Facebook post. Although Kolasinac later decided to apologize for his comment, it had already exposed hateful mindset that exists even among the relatively influential section of society.

A study conducted by German government revealed that 33 million Germans, around 40% of country’s population, appear to share a modern form of anti-Semitism

Recently, a member of Green party of the Bundestag, Volker Beck, told Deutsche Welle, “Forty percent agree with Israeli-centered anti-Semitism, That’s almost half of the society. It says a lot about the intellectual environment in which Jews have to live.”

This dangerous mix of local anti-Semites and newly arrived Muslims provide the newcomers with a compelling opportunity to flourish, and to further whatever violent designs many may have against the Jewish people.

This new generation of anti-Semites knows the laws and seem well-trained to juggle around the legal loopholes to express their thoughts. That is why those in Berlin brought a homemade Israeli flag to burn, but may well avoid jail because in court it may be proven that it was not an exact flag of Israel.

This is how the extremist attendees of integration courses are able to present their anti-Semitic thoughts. They just stop just short of denying the Holocaust and avoid directly praising their idol (Hitler), yet they comfortably discuss that Jews earned the ferocity of Nazis for opposing them.

It is ironic that all this harassment against the Jewish citizens takes place under the nose of law, which theoretically does not allow hate speech. The authorities, however, appear to feel helpless about curbing the extremism against Jewish members of their society. The situation demands an immediate review of policies and laws evidently too feeble to protect all residents equally, not to mention the even greater feebleness of political will to implement those laws.

The situation demands an immediate review of policies and laws evidently too feeble to protect all residents equally, not to mention the even greater feebleness of political will to implement those laws.

If not stopped and countered in a timely way, possibly by these new proposals, this nest of hate-mongers carries with it the potential to push Germany into another really ugly time.

{Khadija Khan is a Pakistani journalist and commentator, currently based in Germany}

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