German anti-Semitism commissioner idea backed by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere | DW

Ongoing concern:

Germany’s interior minister has joined the chorus of politicians expressing concern over the burning of Israeli flags in Berlin. Germany’s Central Council of Jews has been calling for an anti-Semitism commissioner.

Acting Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in an interview with German national newspaper Bild am Sonntag that he supports creating the position of anti-Semitism commissioner in the next German government.

The conservative De Maiziere said his support for the commissioner went beyond the most recent incidents — in which Berlin protesters burned Israeli flags to demonstrate against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — and was also based on the recommendation of an independent commission of experts.

Germany’s Central Council of Jews has also called repeatedly for an anti-Semitism commissioner to be part of the chancellor’s office.

In the interview, de Maiziere expressed his concern over the increase in anti-Semitic agitation in Germany.

“Each crime motivated by anti-Semitism is one to many and shameful for our country,” he told the paper. He also said that occurrences of derogatory comments, inappropriate jokes and discrimination towards “our fellow Jewish citizens” were on the rise.

“Hatred towards Jews must never be allowed to take hold again in Germany,” he added, alluding to Germany’s historic responsibility for the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed.

His words on the subject of anti-Semitism were the latest to emerge from a German politician in the aftermath of protests in front of the US Embassy in central Berlin and in the immigrant-heavy Neukölln neighborhood.

The minister spoke out in favor of cracking down on protesters’ actions that demonstrate a hatred of Israel, including through police action when possible.

“We cannot tolerate it when a country’s flag is burned in public,” he said. “It is the symbolic annihilation of a country’s right to exist.”

Current German law makes it illegal to burn flags and symbols of a foreign state that have been officially installed. Burning homemade or non-official flags is not a crime, though incitement to violence against Jews is.

De Maiziere said that he found the burning of homemade flags comparable to burning official ones. “I consider the burning of imitation flags to also be a disruption of public security and order.”

De Maiziere’s fellow Christian Democratic (CDU) politician and acting Chancellor Angela Merkel also has denounced the burning of Israeli symbols.

via German anti-Semitism commissioner idea backed by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere | News | DW | 17.12.2017

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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