Angela Merkel spoke out Sunday against the spread of anti-Semitism in Germany. After a summer when protesters at rallies against Israel were heard chanting “Jews to the gas,” the Chancellor’s speech was a welcome affirmation of the country’s best liberal traditions.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers her speech at a rally against anti-Semitism near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on September 14. Associated Press
“I do not accept any kind of anti-Semitic message or attacks at all, not least the ones that were recently seen at the pro-Palestinian demonstrations, disguised as alleged criticism of the policy of the state of Israel,” she said. Something is badly amiss in Germany, she noted, when she hears “that young Jewish parents are asking if it’s safe to raise their children here or the elderly ask if it was right to stay here.”
German authorities recorded 184 anti-Semitic incidents in June and July this year, up from 159 for the entire second quarter. These ranged from Molotov cocktails thrown at synagogues to swastikas scrawled on Jewish gravestones. Responsibility for most of these assaults lies either with the country’s small band of neo-Nazis or pockets of Germany’s large Muslim community. But also culpable is the Israel hatred from elite quarters, which lends specious respectability to disreputable ideas with dangerous consequences.
Meantime, Germany has delivered a fourth state-of-the-art submarine to the Israeli navy, the INS Tanin, which is capable of launching nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. In speaking so forcefully and helping Israel defend itself, Mrs. Merkel has helped to fulfill Germany’s historical obligations while exposing the face of modern anti-Semitism.
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