Faced with recurring attacks by Muslim gangs, Jews in the northwestern German city of Bochum have decided to stop wearing the kippah, the traditional Jewish skullcap that identifies them as Jews in public.
According to the local German broadcaster Radio Bochum, members of the community are “routinely faced with insults on public streets when they are recognized as Jews.” The news outlet identified the perpetrators as “Muslim youths.”
The news comes amid growing concerns over the resurgence of antisemitism in Germany more than seven decades after the Holocaust. On Wednesday, Josef Schuster, the head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, reiterated these concerns. “90 percent of [German] Jews perceive antisemitism as a very big problem” and “70 percent avoid carrying any Jewish symbols in public,” Schuster said citing a recent survey.
Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post reported:
Members of the small Jewish community in the West German city of Bochum announced that they will no longer wear kippot because of attacks on them by Muslim youths.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, “Germans, more than any other people in Europe, should understand what starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews. When I raised the issue brought to Germany by many Arab and Muslim immigrants with the German justice minister, I was told this issue would be dealt with in the context of the German authorities’ efforts to integrate newcomers into German life and values.”
He added, “The German authorities, Church leadership and NGOs have a moral obligation to ensure 21st century German Jews will never have to hide their Jewish identities on the streets of Germany.”
The news outlet Radio Bochum first reported that a representative of the community said members will stop wearing kippot in public because they are routinely faced with insults on public streets when they are recognized as Jews.
“Muslim youths attacked people of the Jewish faith,” the segment said.
In November 2015, at the onset of the migrant influx, Jewish community leader Schuster had urged German Chancellor Angela Merkel to reconsider her decision to allow unrestricted migration from Arab and Muslim countries, warning that many of the migrants were coming “from cultures in which hate towards Jews and intolerance are fixed components.” Needless to say, Merkel chose to ignore those warnings.
In recent years, Jewish community leaders have slammed the Merkel government for its “reluctance in confronting” Muslim antisemitism. Faced with daily attacks and insults from Islamists, community leaders have been telling the Jews to conceal their Jewish identity in cities across Germany.
When Chancellor Merkel flung open the borders of the country in the wake of Migrant Crisis, she was promising nothing less than absolution for Germany’s sins of the past. “The world sees Germany as a land of hope and opportunities,” she said. “That hasn't always been the case.”
That gambit backfired spectacularly.
Just as the Jewish community leaders predicted, mass migration from Arab and Muslim countries has fueled antisemitism in the country. But as Germans should know: hate that started with the Jews, doesn’t just end there. It’s time for Germany’s political class to learn from the past and pay heed to these ominous warning signs.