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Extremism

Opinion: Time to take a stand

Since the start of the Gaza conflict, various pro-Palestinian demonstrators have called for violence against Jews and Israelis. This is a disgrace for Germany, writes DW's Martin Muno.

Germany in the year 2014. In Berlin, state security authorities are investigating the case of a Muslim preacher who published a video on the weekend calling for the murder of Jews. In another incident, an Israeli tourist was verbally attacked when he accidentally walked past a demonstration against Israel's Gaza offensive in Berlin. The police only barely managed to prevent a physical assault.

In Hanover, a Greens parliamentarian was injured while wearing the Israeli flag during a demonstration. Some clashes were also recorded in the city of Essen.

In several German cities, neo-Nazis chanted anti-Semitic slogans from the Third Reich at Palestinian solidarity demonstrations together with protesters of Arab heritage and other demonstrators.

Similar incidents have been recorded in other European countries. In France, synagogues were attacked and Jewish-owed shops were ransacked. This is a scandal for any country governed by the rule of law. In Germany - the country that was responsible for the Holocaust and that sees Israel's right to exist as one of its national interests - it's even more than a scandal: it's downright shameful.

No time for sophisticated discourse

Martin Muno

DW's Martin Muno

This behavior is still shameful even if there are some comprehensible reasons for it, including the Gaza Strip offensive, the Israeli settlement policy and the general shift towards right-wing politics in Israel. Yes, there are good reasons to criticize the policies of the Israeli government.

But in light of the verbal and physical attacks on German streets, it's not time to conduct academic discussions about the fine distinction between justifiable criticism and anti-Semitism. When Synagogues are attacked, when Jews are in physical danger, when people on the street are calling for Jews to be gassed, there is only one thing to do: publicly oppose these hateful acts.

We're not only obliged to do this because of our history - we also owe it to the future of our democracy.

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