Giffey: schools should consistently report anti-semitism

Giffey: Schools should consistently report anti-Semitism

The latest anti-Semitic incidents in German schools are calling the German government and the Central Council of Jews to action.

Over the weekend, Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey appealed to schools to report every case of anti-Semitism, radicalization, racism and open hatred to the school authorities and to deal with it.

Central Council President Josef Schuster lamented that the number of anti-Semitic incidents, as well as the level of violence, was increasing “threateningly” in Europe. “Unfortunately, this also applies to Germany, unfortunately, especially around schools,” he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

The debate was triggered by the case of a Berlin elementary school where a second-grader was insulted by older students from Muslim families because of her Jewish religious affiliation. The case had caused a nationwide sensation.

Giffey criticized the previous behavior of schools in reporting such incidents: “Many schools shy away from this because they fear stigmatization if they appear in the statistics with many cases.”We have to get away from this. “A school that reports incidents of violence is a school where it is dealt with consistently and where the problems are worked through,” the former Neukolln district mayor told the “Passauer Neue Presse” (Saturday).

Schools and teachers need support and partners, Giffey stressed. To this end, 20 million euros and more than 170 “anti-bullying professionals” would be available this year for schools with problems.

Hesse’s Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs Alexander Lorz (CDU) announced a decree from his house that calls on all schools to report incidents. If necessary, the schools also receive support from the school authorities and the Ministry of Education. Against the backdrop of its history, Germany has a special responsibility for Jewish life today, the minister stressed in Wiesbaden.

Central Council President Schuster spoke of several anti-Semitic currents. Right-wing extremist anti-Semitism was “unfortunately nothing new” and still responsible for most crimes in the area. In addition, there has been an “increasingly loud anti-Semitism from parts of the political left” for some years now.

Another form is the hatred of Jews by migrants, especially from Muslim countries. “It is indeed what worries us most at the moment,” Schuster said. He demanded that “those who are not ready to accept our social norms should not be given permanent right to stay in this country”.

An anti-Semitism commissioner is to be appointed for the first time in the federal government. According to information from government circles in the “Welt am Sonntag,” it is to be the diplomat Felix Klein. So far, he has been the Foreign Office’s special representative for relations with Jewish organizations and anti-Semitism issues, and the Central Council’s preferred candidate for the new post.

Last year, 1453 crimes against Jews or Jewish institutions were registered nationwide, an average of four per day. This is what the German government had said in February in response to a question from Bundestag Vice President Petra Pau (Left Party). That was similar to 2016 and more than 2015.