Germany must confront its new wave of anti-Semitism — even if those behind it aren’t German

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German police officers patrol a Berlin square during an event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel on May 4. (Hayoung Jeon/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Anti-Semitic violence is on the rise in Germany.

Last month, an Israeli man wearing a kippah, or skullcap, an obvious sign of Jewish faith and identity, was attacked on the streets of Berlin. But the assailant was not a German. He was a 19-year-old refugee from Syria, a country that has made anti-Semitism an integral part of its ruling ideology.

The Research and Information Office on Anti-Semitism in Berlin published a survey documenting 947 incidents of anti-Semitic attacks, threats and vandalism in the city in 2017 — almost double the number from the previous year. Synagogues and other Jewish community facilities are under police protection. This is 2018, not 1933.

I have a personal stake in this issue. My paternal grandparents were murdered in Auschwitz on May 26, 1944. My mother spent months hiding in a Budapest attic, and was twice taken out to be shot by Hungarians collaborating with the Nazi occupiers. She survived both times. My late father survived two death marches.

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