Germany needs anti-Semitism commissioner, says interior minister

Abby Young-Powell
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin - AP

Germany's interior minister Sunday called for the creation of an anti-Semitism officer to tackle increasing violence against Jews in the country. 

Thomas de Maiziere, a member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) said "hatred towards Jews must never be allowed to take hold again in Germany".

"Each crime motivated by anti-Semitism is one too many and shameful for our country," Mr de Maiziere told Bild am Sonntag newspaper. 

He said the number of disparaging remarks, inappropriate jokes and discriminatory behavior against “our Jewish citizens" has grown. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel 

Germany's Central Council of Jews has repeatedly called for the government to appoint a commissioner to combat rising anti-Semitism in the country. 

The council has suggested the new anti-Semitism officer could record attacks and serve as a point of contact for people who experience prejudice.

Jewish people in Germany are increasingly worried about their safety, a report conducted by an independent group of experts, published in April, found. 

The internet and social media in particular are sources of anti-Semitic hate, according to the findings. At the time, experts called for better detection and prosecution of anti-Semitic offenses, as well as better counseling services and a new anti-Semitism officer.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere 

Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews, previously told Bild newspaper that there are still parts of Germany where it is dangerous to be Jewish. 

"In some districts in major cities, I'd advise people not to identify themselves as Jews," he said. The issue has been in the spotlight recently, after homemade Israeli flags were burned during a protest against American President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"We cannot tolerate it when a country's flag is burned in public," Mr de Maiziere said. "It is the symbolic annihilation of a country's right to exist."