‘Capitulation to anti-Semitism’: Israel scolds German official over warning about wearing kippahs
The criticism from Tel Aviv was provoked by Felix Klein, who told local media that he “can’t recommend Jews to wear kippahs anywhere at any time in Germany.”
“Unfortunately, I have to say so,” Klein said, lamenting the spike in hate crimes in the country.
On Sunday, his comments were met with a strong rebuke from Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, who was “deeply shocked” by the German official’s words. It is Berlin’s responsibility to secure the safety and protect religious rights of the local Jewish community, he said, calling Klein’s approach “a capitulation to anti-Semitism.”
We acknowledge and appreciate moral position of the government of #Germany and its commitment to the #Jewish community that lives there, but fears about the security of German Jews are a capitulation to #AntiSemitism and an admittance that, again, Jews are not safe on German soil— Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) May 26, 2019
We will never lower our gaze and will never react to anti-Semitism with defeatism – and we expect and demand our allies act in the same way.
Felix Klein’s statement sparked controversy in Germany as well. Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann stressed that “everyone can and should wear kippahs wherever and whenever they want.” He argued that “bowing down to the hatred of Jews” fuels extreme right-wing views.
The US envoy to Berlin, Richard Grenell, known for actively weighing in on internal debates in Germany, took a similar view, saying that Jews should be encouraged to wear kippahs, not advised against it.
The opposite is true. Wear your kippa. Wear your friend’s kippa. Borrow a kippa and wear it for our Jewish neighbors. Educate people that we are a diverse society. https://t.co/vd9nV9AvPG— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 26, 2019
Klein himself then admitted to the German dpa news agency that his statement was “provocative.” He also explained that he deliberately sought to initiate a discussion about the security of the Jewish community in Germany. “Of course, I believe that there should not be any no-go areas for Jews or other minorities in Germany,” he said.Also on rt.com Beatings, harassment & bullying: Germany’s anti-Semitic hate crimes soar by 10%
The office of the commissioner for combating anti-Semitism was created in 2018 as part of an effort to tackle the upswing in crimes against Jews across Germany. According to the government, violent attacks on Jews grew more than 60 percent last year. Some 43 people were injured during that period.
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