The 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht has a particularly timely message in Germany. After the Hamas attack on Israel, anti-Jewish demonstrations took place there. The German Chancellor commented on this in strong words – condemning every form of anti-Semitism.
“Never again” – this slogan appeared on Thursday evening at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the pogrom of Jews in Nazi Germany. Kristallnacht was the beginning of a wave of violence that ultimately led to the Holocaust.
The tragic events of 1938 were commemorated throughout Europe. The celebrations took place in the shadow of anti-Semitism, which was resurgent under the pretext of Israel’s war with Hamas. – Nothing, absolutely nothing, no origin, no political beliefs, no cultural background, no view of history can serve as an excuse for celebrating murder, the cruel massacre of the innocent – said Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany. He referred with these words to the demonstrations that took place in Germany immediately after the brutal terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel. The participants of the demonstration openly expressed their joy at the death of innocent people. To celebrate the attack, pro-Palestinian organizations in Berlin distributed sweets to passers-by.
In the following weeks, protests taking place on the streets of German cities against Israel’s retaliatory attacks on the Gaza Strip became a pretext for spreading radical anti-Jewish and Islamist slogans. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier made an impassioned appeal to the Arab diaspora in Germany. – You have the right to express your pain and despair over the civilian casualties in Gaza. The right to do so peacefully, publicly, is enshrined in our constitution and this right is not questioned. But terrorism, incitement to hatred and calls for the annihilation of the State of Israel are not part of this law, he stressed.
Debate in the shadow of war
There is a heated debate all over the world about the fine line between criticism of the actions of the state of Israel and anti-Semitism. One of the axis of the dispute is the slogan “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, commonly used during anti-Israel demonstrations. The US Congress admonished Rashida Tlaib, the first member of the House of Representatives of Palestinian origin, for spreading this slogan. The woman claims that the slogan is a call for freedom, respect for human rights and peaceful coexistence, when in fact it is a universal call to use violence against Jews and wipe out Israel from the face of the earth. – This slogan means not only the destruction of this country, but the end of the Jewish presence. We know what the slogans about the end of the Jewish presence meant – recalls Maciej Kozłowski, former Polish ambassador to Israel.
Walter Bingham, 99, a British-Israeli journalist and witness of Kristallnacht, who fled from Germany to Great Britain as a 15-year-old, reminds us that history repeats itself. He told The Daily Telegraph that “Jews in Europe today feel the same fear as in 1938 in Germany.”
The number of anti-Semitic speeches and attacks is growing rapidly around the world. On Thursday in Montreal, unknown perpetrators shot at two Jewish schools. – Since the beginning of the conflict, I have been meeting with various communities severely affected by the war between Israel and Hamas. The impact of the war on these communities is dramatic. I call for collective responsibility. We cannot give in to violence, emphasized Valerie Plante, mayor of Montreal.
There are signals from all over the world that, in parallel with the growing wave of anti-Semitism, the war in the Middle East has caused an explosion of Islamophobia and violence against Muslims.
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Main photo source: Reuters