German Foreign Minister Proposes Action Plan to Fight Antisemitism, Prevent Jews From Fleeing Germany

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas listens during a news conference with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki in Ramallah, March 26, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.

Germany’s Foreign Minister expressed fear on Sunday that Jews may flee his country due to antisemitic violence and proposed an action plan to prevent it.

In a Spiegel op-ed, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote, “Every day, Jewish citizens are openly attacked on our streets or threatened and insulted online. There were over 400 such incidents in Berlin alone over a period of six months last year — more than two per day.”

“In light of such figures, it does not surprise me that almost every second Jew in Germany has already thought about leaving the country,” he admitted. “But it pains me even more.”

“We urgently need to take action so that such thoughts do not become bitter reality and large numbers of Jews do not leave Germany,” he said, calling this a “nightmare” and a “disgrace” considering Germany’s Nazi past.

To counter the rise of antisemitism, Maas proposed what should be a pan-European action plan.

The plan calls for creating a network of “commissioners” appointed by the member states to combat antisemitism and secure Jewish sites, fighting online hate speech by legal means, making Holocaust denial a crime and forming a global task force to fight it, and increasing Holocaust education in EU member states.

“Policymakers need to take more resolute action in the fight against antisemitism,” Maas wrote, “but there is one thing that their actions cannot do: replace the solidarity that arises when each of us takes a stand against antisemitism — on the street, in the schoolyard, and on the internet.”

This is the only way, he asserted, that Jews will believe that they “belong here as members of our society and that we are serious when we say now, 75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz: ‘Never Again!’”

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Author: Benjamin Kerstein


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