Germans Urged to Wear a Kippah to Protest Anti-Semitism

A call for solidarity

Felix Klein, the anti-Semitism commissioner in the German Government, has requested all Germans to show solidarity with the country’s Jews by wearing the kippah. He made his request before anti-Israel protests scheduled on June 1, the Al-Quds Day. Protesters assemble on this day to remember Israel’s occupation of the East Jerusalem area during the 1967 six-day war. Jerusalem is called Al-Quds by Arabs. This demonstration typically attracts hardcore anti-Israel demonstrators, like Hamas and Hezbollah sympathizers. Other than Arabs, neo-Nazis carrying anti-Semitic symbols and slogans also join the protests.

Klein made the comments after he was heavily criticized for asking German Jews not to wear the kippah. He reiterated this saying he cannot recommend to his German Jewish counterparts that they wear their kippahs everywhere and all the time in Germany. According to the anti-Semitism commissioner, an increase in “social disinhibition and coarseness” can be blamed for the alarming rise in anti-Semitism. He blamed social media and the World Wide Web of feeding fuel to the fire. In his opinion, the latter two also facilitated the continuous attacks hurting the Jewish culture for remembrance.

Protests have been called across Germany after Klein initially warns German Jews not to wear their respective kippahs. Bild, the German newspaper group, continues to be one of the fiercest supporters of the pro-Jewish protests and even published a cut-out kippah which the tabloid’s readers can cut or download and then print. Klein, who was appointed to the post in 2018, cited a considerable 20 percent rise in attacks perpetrated on Jewish citizens compared to 2018. About 1,800 anti-Semitic attacks were reported in 2018. All involved verbal abuse, death threats, and even physical abuse. He said that most of these intimidatory tactics were not reported and the actual figure is much higher.

The situation has become worse for Jews. Yechiel Brukner, the rabbi, serving the 4,000 active Jewish population in Cologne, said he had taken the decision not to take public transport due to the continuous abuse received by him. Death threats are one of them. There has been multiple instances too, campaigners for the Die Rechte, a far-right political party, drove past a Pforzheim city synagogue shouting at the Jews to leave Germany or migrate to Israel.

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