Aras-Nathan Keul is a member of the German Federal Youth Organization of the Friendship Society with Israel and adviser to the German Jewish NGO "WerteInitiative". He is also a student in Interdisciplinary Research on Antisemitism at the Technical University of Berlin.
Crif - On May 25th, the German government's top official against anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, said he wouldn't advise Jews to wear skullcaps in some parts of the country. What is the current situation toward the German jewish population? Is it safe to be Jewish in Germany in 2019?
Aras-Nathan Keul - Open Jew-hatred is something the overwhelming majority of the people in Germany would never say or articulate. But unfortunately often times the case is different when it comes to how Israel and Israelis are portrayed, for example in some articles in the news.
Antisemitism doesn’t start with violence, but with how Jews are depicted. I understand the statement of Felix Klein as a wake-up call not to German Jews, but to the non-Jewish majority in Germany to stand up and act against antisemitism.
Crif - The statement shows that the German government and the German public policies themselves think they are failing in fighting antisemitism. However, lots of things have been recently done. What are the last laws adopted by the German Parliement to combat antisemitism?
Aras-Nathan Keul - It is not too late and a lot of people in Germany see antisemitism as a rising problem.
Also, the Bundestag has adopted two important resolutions: the first one created the position of the federal envoy on combatting Antisemitism and adopted the IHRA definition on Antisemitism. The second resolution from last week declared singling out and calling to boycott the only Jewish State in the world anti-Semitic and decided that it therefore should not be supported by the state.
Crif - A government report released two weeks ago showed anti-Semitic crimes were up by 20 percent in Germany. How would you describe this current antisemitism and where does it mainly come from?
Aras-Nathan Keul - Antisemitism still uses the same hundreds-of-years-old tropes and can be found in every part of our society: the far right, the far left, with some migrants and also in the majority of our society. And over the time we had to learn, that it is very hard to argue with facts and logic against an irrational world-view. So, the question is, how we as a society deal with Antisemitism: do we call it out every time we see and hear it, or do we allow justifications for Antisemitism?
I think we have to educate about the history of Antisemitism and what Anti-Semitism is so that people become aware of it and can start to act against it whenever they hear or see it.
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