With anti-Semitism, it shouldn’t matter where it comes from

Knife attacks, insults: Anti-Semitism by migrants from Arab countries is increasingly causing trouble for Jewish Makkabi associations in Germany. But there are also positive developments.

Two years ago Oded Breda presented “Liga Terezin” in several German cities. The Tel Aviv soccer fan’s film shows how a soccer league set up by the Nazis in the Theresienstadt concentration camp was once supposed to fool the world public into believing that the Jews were doing well there. In reality, only 4000 of the 157,000 camp inmates survived. redas uncle, who played in the league at the time, was also murdered shortly after the film was shot in Auschwitz.

Many young people came to Oded Breda’s film screening, and some of them were involved in helping refugees. Breda said it was nice to help people in need. But he also feared anti-Semitic currents among those who came to Germany as refugees from the Arab world. He very much hoped that this would not tilt the mood towards Jews in Germany.

Two and a half years later, the president of the 37 Jewish Makkabi associations in Germany expressed his concern. Alon Meyer laments a growing anti-Semitism in the amateur leagues. He says that some opponents with “Muslim-Arab” backgrounds are assuming aggressive anti-Semitism against the Jews. The verbal attacks range from “dirty Jews” to “Jews in the gas”.


Attacks, prejudices, insults

There have also been fisticuffs and knife attacks, he says. Meyer, who also presides over the 1400-member Frankfurt Maccabi Association, sees the situation exacerbated by the influx of refugees and says: “Most of the refugees have grown up in hateful, totalitarian regimes in which images of the enemy are built up not only against Jews, but also against lightly dressed women, gays or lesbians”.

The journalist Ahmad Mansour also recognises problems here and says: “In Germany we have been experiencing a process of radicalisation among many Muslim youths for around ten years. Islamists and Salafists have successfully carried out propaganda among those who are looking for support. Anti-Semitism is part of the programme.”

Makkabi President Meyer is currently in Turkey. He is there with youth players from the club and a Turkish team from Frankfurt, the destination of the trip: “Getting into conversation, breaking down prejudices, that’s what it’s all about. And that’s great fun,” he told SPIEGEL: “Children and young people from Muslim families generally can’t help being indoctrinated in authoritarian regimes with stereotypes about Jews.”

There are other positive signals, such as a Berlin-based initiative of young Muslims against anti-Semitism and educational work in schools and universities. In Cologne, Berlin and Frankfurt, Maccabi players of Muslim faith were also outraged by the recent hostilities on the football pitch. In response to a corresponding SPIEGEL request, the German Football Association (DFB) also referred to a recently presented study on discrimination in amateur football: 0.21 percent of the 1,318,741 matches examined had resulted in discriminatory attacks. The statistics do not show the origin or religion of the perpetrators.

However, anti-Semitism in football has not only been a problem since 2015, the so-called wave of refugees. Anti-Semitic provocations have already occurred before, and they also emanate from Germans. Fans of clubs such as Babelsberg 03, Tennis Borussia Berlin or the Red Star Leipzig are repeatedly attacked by right-wing extremists with anti-Semitic slogans – because their fan scene is regarded as alternative, or because their club has Jewish roots.

Hunt against Jews – club kicks players out

The publicist Alex Feuerherdt is a member of Makkabi Köln and was “anything but surprised” when he read Meyer’s remarks. That shouldn’t be tabooed any more than similar attitudes among German rightists, says Feuerherdt: “When it comes to anti-Semitism, it shouldn’t matter where it comes from.” But one should not forget how widespread anti-Semitic stereotypes are in general.

But Feuerhardt, too, says that “aggressive hostilities in the Cologne area have mostly emanated from players with a Muslim background”. After a corresponding incident, several witnesses at the sports court named the players of the opposing team who had expressed themselves anti-Semitically. However, only one of them was punished, apparently most of the calls were not attributable.

Makkabi President Meyer says about sanctions of the associations in case of anti-Semitism that there is still a lot to be done so that it does not remain with well-meant announcements. He was in talks with the DFB, which had assured him that it would take the issue very seriously. 21Bet is a user-friendly online casino gaming site and becoming a VIP is very easy as well.

The club BSC Schwarz-Weiß Frankfurt 1919 became active itself. One of their players had written after the duel against Makkabi Frankfurt on Facebook: “Despite three times turned around fully accelerated to the end. Victory against the damn Makkabi Jahuds… for Palestine“. The reaction to the agitation: The club suspended the player.

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