Anti-Semitic attacks: Seehofer offers countries support

Anti-Semitic Attacks
Seehofer offers support to countries

The Middle East conflict is driving thousands onto the streets in Germany as well. The mood is heated and peaceful protests are not just everywhere. NRW Interior Minister Reul is convinced that many demonstrators are not interested in criticizing Israel: “The connecting bracket is sheer anti-Semitism.”

After the riots during protests against Israel in Germany, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced a crackdown on all forms of anti-Semitism. “We will not tolerate Israeli flags being burned on German soil and Jewish institutions being attacked,” said the CSU politician of “Bild am Sonntag”. “Anyone who spreads anti-Semitic hatred will feel the full harshness of the rule of law.” He offered the police in the federal states personal and material support.

In view of the escalation of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas, thousands of people took to the streets in German cities on Saturday, mainly to show their solidarity with the Palestinians. There were riots at several rallies. In Berlin, demonstrators beat police officers and threw stones and bottles at them. Fireworks were also thrown. The police used pepper spray. In Mannheim, too, stones were thrown at the police after a pro-Palestinian rally was broken up. Four officers were slightly injured, said a police spokesman on Saturday evening. In addition, a man tried to light an Israeli flag. The police stopped that and arrested the man.

Reul fears aggravation

In the days before, there had been anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli demonstrations in several cities, during which Israel flags were also lit. North Rhine-Westphalia’s Interior Minister Herbert Reul fears that the conflicts will intensify if the violence in the Middle East continues. “We are already seeing a high level of emotionalization and mobilization, especially among young people of Arab origin, but also among Turkish right-wing extremists,” said the CDU politician of “Welt am Sonntag”. “However, this is not about criticism of Israel. The connecting bracket is sheer anti-Semitism, which we consistently pursue with all the means of the constitutional state.”

Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told the newspaper: “I warn all rioters, chaos and criminals: the Bavarian police will significantly increase their presence at meetings with a connection to Israel in the next few days. Crimes during the meeting will not be tolerated and will be consistently prosecuted.” This applies to anti-Semitic insults as well as to denigrating state symbols. The Baden-Württemberg Interior Minister Thomas Strobl sounded similar. The CDU politician told “Welt am Sonntag”: “If a demonstration runs contrary to the law, it will be banned or dissolved, and crimes will be harshly and consistently prosecuted.” His colleague from Lower Saxony, Boris Pistorius, called for anti-Semitism to be combated more comprehensively: “We have to invest even more in prevention and education, and that applies to all citizens, regardless of whether they are young or old or whatever their origin,” said the SPD politician.

Weber thinks about a new criminal offense

SPD leader Saskia Esken demanded that the state must ensure that Jews are safe in Germany. “Especially with a view to our German history, anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic slogans are absolutely unacceptable,” she told the newspapers of the Funke media group. “We let neither the right nor religious fanatics question the achievements of our open, colorful and free society.”

The chairman of the Christian Democrats in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, suggested that incitement to religion should be made criminal across the EU. Freedom of belief is a core of the European model of society, said the deputy CSU chairman in the newspapers of the Funke media group. “It would be worth considering for the EU states to jointly examine whether hate speech against religions in an appropriate form should become a criminal offense in all countries.”

The Israeli ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff pleaded for Muslims and Jews to stand together against the increasing polarization in Germany. “The Jewish and Muslim communities can have a lot in common, and in some places in Germany there are close contacts between these communities,” Issacharoff told Welt am Sonntag. This bond could make a big difference. “This can also be a basis for jointly countering the currently growing hatred.”