Acting Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told Bild am Sonntag, the largest-selling German national Sunday newspaper, that he wants to see an anti-Semitism commissioner post in the next German government.
De Maiziere, member of the conservative Christian Democratic Party (CDU), said the need for this commissioner is not just his response to last week’s rally in Berlin, in which protesters burned Israeli flags in response to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The need for the post, according to de Maiziere, is based on the recommendation of an independent commission of experts.
Germany’s Central Council of Jews has been asking again and again for the chancellor’s office to include an anti-Semitism commissioner, and de Maiziere told the newspaper he supported their point of view, citing the increase in anti-Semitic phenomena in Germany.
“Each crime motivated by anti-Semitism is one too many and shameful for our country,” he stated, noting that disparaging comments, jokes and discrimination at the expense of “our fellow Jewish citizens” have been on the rise.
“Hatred towards Jews must never be allowed to take hold again in Germany,” de Maiziere insisted.
Regarding the Berlin rally, the acting minister said he favored cracking down, using police whenever possible, on protesters whose actions demonstrate a hatred of Israel. “We cannot tolerate it when a country’s flag is burned in public,” he said. “It is the symbolic annihilation of a country’s right to exist.”
German law makes it illegal to burn flags and symbols of a foreign state that have been officially installed. Although burning your own homemade flags is not against the law, using them to incite violence against Jews is. Other Christian Democrats, including acting Chancellor Angela Merkel, have also denounced the burning of Israeli flags and other symbols.