The new anti-Semitism

Young German Muslims vs. Israelis


“Gone with the Jews!” yelled a group of youths at Jewish dance performers on the fringes of ?Hanover, Germany. It was International Day, and celebrations were focused on social diversity and cohesion. These hate-filled sentiments, though, broke up the festivities when the young people began stoning the dancers. Unlike traditional sources of anti-Semitic hatred in Germany—white, right-wing radicals—German authorities say this and other such cases mark a new source of anti-Semitic hatred in Germany: young Muslims.

Randall Hansen, a professor at the University of Toronto who studies radicalization among visible minorities in Europe, says this summer’s hate crimes “partly reflect traditional anti-Semitism, but also an incorporation by Arabs and Turks in Germany of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.” Turks make up the largest ethnic minority in Germany, and Muslims represent the largest minority religion in the country. Bringing the Middle East conflict into the German context often results in a “massive oversimplification” of geopolitics, says Hansen, and in turn, the promotion of anti-Semitism.

Similar incidents include an alleged anti-Semitic attack on an Israeli by a Palestinian in a Berlin nightclub in late June, as well as a mid-May arson at a synagogue in western Germany. Police found a letter at the scene that allegedly read, “Until you leave Palestinians alone, we won’t leave you alone.” Christoph Meyer, a senior lecturer at King’s College London who specializes in European policy and integration, says that Turkey’s deteriorating relations with Israel in the last year (the May flotilla incident being the low point) may explain these recent anti-Semitic acts. “If Turkish-Israeli relations continue to deteriorate or stay in their current bad state,” he says, “[these hate crimes are] likely to continue.”

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.