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Current Events & Trends: German debate shows anti-Semitism can worsen quickly

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German debate shows anti-Semitism can worsen quickly

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Germany in particular is struggling with the reemergence of hostility and rhetoric against the Jewish people. In the wake of the Holocaust during World War II being enabled through endemic anti-Semitism, Germany has effectively stigmatized any form of institutionalized or even personal anti-Semitic dialogue. But Germany's sterling reputation as a safe haven for European Jews is threatened by a growing debate centering on the emergence of anti-Semitic thought.

The debate began when journalists who compared Israel's actions against Palestinian Arabs in Gaza to Nazi Germany's genocide of Jews were blocked from attending an official leftist party meeting. This situation didn't occur in a vacuum, as reported in The Wall Street Journal:

"The debate comes on the heels of protests this summer touched off by the Gaza conflict, which Jewish organizations say led to the worst outbreak of public anti-Semitism seen in Germany in years. Chants such as 'Child murderer Israel' and 'Jew, Jew, cowardly pig,' could be heard at anti-Israel rallies" (Anton Troianovski, "Anti-Semitism Debate Roils German Left," Nov. 19, 2014).

The same report says the event and subsequent media coverage "has in recent days brought back to the surface a long-simmering debate of how much criticism of Israel is appropriate in German politics" (ibid.)

The resurgence of anti-Semitic thought in Germany shows how widespread and mainstream anger at Europe's Jewish population has become in past months. As secular and biblical history reveals again and again, cultural stigmatization of Jewish populations often leads to violence. Keep a close eye on Europe in the coming weeks, months and years. (Source: The Wall Street Journal.)