It is shortly before 2:30 in the afternoon, on this warm summer Wednesday, when the Israeli professor Yitzhak Melamed walks across the courtyard garden, a meadow larger than a soccer field, in the 18th district. Built in the nineteenth century, directly in front of the electoral residence palace in Bonn. The magnificent building is now the university. In the evening, the professor is to give a lecture here on German philosophy. He is a guest at the university's summer school, and a member of the institute's staff accompanies him through the park. Professor Melamed, 50, otherwise teaches in the U.S. He is Jewish and wears a kippah on this day.
Around 14.8 p.m., on 11. June, a young man approaches Yitzhak Melamed and his colleague. He sees the kippa, religious Jews wear the small, circular head covering as a symbol of their fear of God. The unknown man quickly becomes aggressive, apparently he has taken drugs, pushes the professor, hits him with his hand the kippa from his head. Melamed picks it up from the ground, puts it back on his head. Again the man hits the kippa. Then he hits Melamed on the shoulder and shouts: "No Jew in Germany"!"
Blows to the kippah, blows from the police
The professor defends himself against the attack, the two wrestle. The colleague alerts the police by cell phone. This is how it will later be written in the officers' memo. The witness confirms the incident and the course of events to this editorial office. Another university employee, as well as police, provide details of the crime when asked.
When the 20-year-old man hears the police sirens, he runs away. The officers write that he rips his T-shirt off his upper body. Professor Melamed runs after him. Two patrol cars turn into the Hofgarten. They see the two running, shouting, "Stop, police!"But instead of grabbing the alleged perpetrator, they grab Yitzhak Melamed and pull him to the ground on the lawn. He shouts in English that he is the "wrong one". Officials do not understand him? Because Melamed allegedly resisted, the officers hit him in the face. Only the colleague of the professor can apparently clear up. Shortly after, police officers apprehend the young attacker.
Anti-Semitism victim: "Despicable act"
The red calluses from the police beating can still be seen on his face when Melamed is back in the U.S. and speaks to our editorial team via Skype. He makes serious accusations against the officers, speaks of a "despicable act". The police chief apologized to the professor for the assault of the officers. In addition to the case against the young attacker, investigations are also underway against the police officers for assault in office. The anti-Semitic act of the young man almost fades into the background. Also for Yitzhak Melamed.
The suspected perpetrator of the attack in the Hofgarten is German, born and raised here, according to information from this editorial office. He comes from a Palestinian family. The police were aware of the 20-year-old for robbery and assault. Drugs have also been found on him. Politically, however, the man has so far been inconspicuous, the police have no indications that he associates with Islamists, left-wing radicals or right-wing extremists. Parents are also politically inconspicuous.
Jew-hatred in everyday life in Germany
An Israeli, a professor, is a guest in Germany – the country responsible for the million-fold murder of Jews. Melamed becomes victim of Jew-hatred, in the middle of the day, in the middle of Germany. And it is not the only case of anti-Semitism these days. Swastikas on Jewish cemeteries, insults on the train or on Facebook, hate slogans against owners of Jewish stores. And in individual cases Jew-hostiles even strike.
In the Jewish community in Offenbach, a rabbi has been repeatedly insulted for years; this week, six men harassed him. According to local media reports and police statements, they shouted slogans such as "Free Palestine" and "Shit Jew". The prosecutor's office is investigating.
In Berlin, several young men beat up a 25-year-old Jew from Syria. Police say the attack was triggered by a necklace with a Star of David on it. In Dortmund, three neo-Nazis threaten a 26-year-old Jew, show the Hitler salute. In April, three men insulted two Jews wearing kippahs in Arabic in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district. News from Germany in 2018.
No kippa, rather Cappy
Who speaks with representatives of Jewish communities or organizations, hears again and again: The fear of attacks grows. In April, the Central Council advises Jews to wear baseball caps instead of kippahs in major German cities.
A look at the police statistics is initially less alarming. For years, the figures on violence, insults and anti-Semitic graffiti have fluctuated greatly – a clear trend toward more hatred cannot be established. From 2016 to 2017, the total number of anti-Semitic crimes actually declined slightly.
Anti-Semitic attacks mainly by right-wingers
Right-wing extremists in particular attract the attention of the police with anti-Jewish attacks. 1381 were the total in 2016. In 2017 already 1412. The number of violent crimes committed by neo-Nazis against Jews fell slightly – from 32 to 29. The proportion of anti-Semitic incidents by right-wingers is more than 90 percent, according to the police. And radical tones from the right-wing fringe are meeting with echoes in the "center of society".
A study by the Bertelsmann Foundation states that 81 percent of Germans would like to "put the history of the persecution of the Jews behind them". 58 percent definitely want to draw a "line in the sand". One consequence of this blame defense is an exaggerated criticism of Israel, an increasing anti-Zionism. Also hostility towards Jews.
But this is just one look at anti-Semitism in Germany. In a study by Bielefeld University, renowned researcher Andreas Zick surveyed Jews in Germany. They tell of incitement against them, relatives or friends – on the street, on the Internet. Many follow media reports of crimes against their faith community. According to the study, more than one-third feel that anti-Semitism in Germany is on the rise. Almost half think it will continue to increase.
Many acts are apparently not recorded
One city in particular stands out: Berlin. Since 2013, the number of anti-Semitic crimes has doubled; an advice center calls Berlin the "capital of right-wing, racist and anti-Semitic attacks". For months, a ninth-grade student at John-F.-Kennedy School in the Zehlendorf district – for example, with notes scrawled with swastikas. According to media reports, the school's management had initially misjudged the seriousness of the situation.
Anti-Semitic incident at German-American school
Especially in cases of bodily harm, for example on the street or in the train, 81 percent of the victims state according to the survey that the perpetrator was "Muslim". Police statistics and Bielefeld study contradict each other. Apparently, the dark field is large that the authorities do not record. In addition, people experience hate – but often do not report it to the police. Out of shame, but also because they have had bad experiences with the authority and do not believe in clarification.
Thus, not every crime that a person sees as an attack against his faith is also judged so by the police. Experts have been complaining for years that the statistics of the security agency do not reflect the reality of Jewish life in Germany. Police say they need concrete evidence of a political motive for a crime. This is often not clearly provable.
Fantasies about world conspiracies
Almost 60 percent of respondents in the Bielefeld study feel more insecure since immigration, especially from countries where Islam is the state religion and hatred of Jews and Israel is sometimes part of a government's doctrine. People who come to Germany have often been exposed to anti-Jewish stereotypes and targeted propaganda in their home countries for many years.
This is also confirmed by a research report commissioned by the "American Jewish Committee" in Berlin. The authors interviewed 68 refugees from Syria and Iraq. Their attitudes toward Judaism were "positive or neutral" to fantasies about Jewish world conspiracies and genocidal longings. The report states: "The position that the world is controlled by Jews or Israel is often perceived as normal or legitimate."
Melamed is back on stage in the evening
Those responsible recognize the seriousness of the situation. The Central Council of Muslims also repeatedly condemned any form of anti-Semitism. Last week, the Jewish Community and the Federal Ministry of the Interior signed a contract that will increase the annual federal aid from ten to 13 million euros. The diplomat Felix Klein was arrested on 11. April nominated as the federal government's first anti-Semitism commissioner.
These are signs that the state wants to set against violence. Israeli professor Yitzhak Melamed also set a sign against anti-Semitism. His very personal. After being insulted and beaten by the 20-year-old man in the afternoon, he returned to Bonn University in the evening. He stood at the lectern in the lecture hall, with students in front of him, and gave his guest lecture on German philosophy.