Interview with Germany’s New Anti-Semitism Commissioner

In an interview in the Washington Post, Felix Klein, the German government’s new commissioner for anti-Semitism, voices concern that the problem is “manifesting itself more evidently and more aggressively, in comparison to earlier days.”

German anti-Semitism (Pinterest)
German anti-Semitism (Pinterest)

In his interview with Washington Post Berlin bureau chief Griff Witte, Klein answers a question about anti-Semitic behavior today compared with that of a few years ago.

“There are several developments,” he says. “One, of course, is the great influx of refugees and people who came to Germany that were raised and educated in countries that are still in the state of war with Israel, or that have been brought up with certain perceptions of Jews in Israel that are totally unacceptable to a German society. So we’re facing an integration problem. Because, of course, these people do not leave that image of Jews in Israel when they enter Germany.”

Klien states, “To a certain extent, the cultural dimension that is linked with the influx was underestimated. Now we have to deal with it. On the other hand, we also, within the group of refugees, have many people who themselves suffered, or had disadvantages in their minority situation. Case by case, we have to examine the situation well, and, of course, we have to be active. The case [of anti-Semitism] last week in Prenzlauer Berg has shown that we need to be more active.”

Klein is approaching his new responsibilities with a sense of optimism. “I think it is possible to win the battle against anti-Semitism, because I see also the great willingness of many actors in German society to do something about the problem, also to understand the problem as a problem of society as a whole and not as a Jewish problem that we can leave the Jews alone with,” he says.

For the full article, visit the Washington Post.

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Germany Anti-Semitism Commissioner trends