Thoughts on the Antisemitic attack in Berlin-Schöneberg
“A rabbi was attacked by four youths on Wednesday as he was walking with his six-year-old daughter on a Berlin street, police in the German capital reported.
The rabbi (53), who was dressed in traditional attire, was confronted by the youths, reportedly of Arab origin, in the German city’s western Schöneberg neighborhood. “Are you a Jew,” they asked him, and then proceeded to attack him. He was admitted to a hospital with head wounds. Police said the assailants insulted the rabbi’s religion and his mother, and also threatened the kill his daughter before fleeing the scene.”
Berlin is flourishing. And Jewish Berlin is flourishing, too. What´s not flourishing is Jewish Berlin, when the Jews are recognizable as Jews. Sounds strange? But that´s how it seems, Berlin is the place where everyone fits in, especially cosmopolitan Jews, but not the Jew with a Kipa. The society doesn´t feel too-Jewish needs outside of holocaust movies. Germany is doing a great effort, but it cannot hide the fact, that now it is not the 1990s anymore, and the wish to keep things calm is stronger than to make the additional effort of pushing certain values through in its streets, no matter what. In which country did force ever work in issues like this? Jews can only be protected from Nazis. That makes sense. But the kind of aggression that happened yesterday is just not metaphysically rehearsed. Indeed, the human rights crowd desperately tries to protect Jews – from circumcision. Life happens only inside the bureaucracy here, not in the streets. Next week there is supposed to be a big festival for integration at the very place where the attack took place. But the irony is that this festival is already planned since weeks. Berlin is the carneval of cultures, but this carneval becomes more and more similar to the Olympic Games 1972. Jews are welcome in the audience, but not with an own team.
On the other hand one cannot deny that thousands of Israelis are streaming in giving Jewish life an interesting new flavour. And Berlin is quite a safe haven, a place to fulfill dreams in. Both, the good and the bad, are happening just a few districts away from each other. Moses Mendelssohn, the intellectual braveheart of German Judaism, once made the often mis-interpreted statement: Be a Jew at home, and a Human in the streets. This has always been suspected as a move of assimilation and hiding your true self. What was meant originally though was not fear, and definitely not taking off the Kipa. It simply meant that it is possible to be loyal to a Religion AND the State. To work on a civil society and peace with everyone, and to celebrate the holidays with your extended family. Those of us, who are German and Jewish, local as well as spiritual patriots, but who are not observant in a way that we would be visible as Jews, need to understand that an attack like this is not just an aggression against the Rabbi, but a highly symbolic act, it is the situation we could have had in the next street, if we were Jewish in the way a dark-skinned person is dark-skinned, without the possibilty of being „undercover“. It will be a hard job to explain this situation. Why Berlin is still THE place to be for young Jews, but on the other hand a few streets further can be Gaza. Marx said that the problem with Jews is that they don´t wanna be freed by the revolution as humans, but as Jews. But the concept of the multicultural society encourages the Jew as a Jew, the Muslim as a Muslim, the Sikh as a Sikh. Even the Germans have used the last decade well to gain a new self confidence, which has been highly inclusive in the times of the supreme experience „World Cup 2006“, but recently also bit a more exclusive and suspicious towards multiculturalism. So if in the end everyone is researching his specialties, it cannot be that a Jew can only apply for the one-world-culture. If the outside Jew is not save, there is some serious wireless aggression in the air always ready as soon as something teases it. Should it be mentioned, that the core problem is caused by young Muslim youth? Don´t they usually have German passports? This is a tough one, because xenophobic iniatives can easily abuse the Jews as the ventiles for releasing their Islamophobia. On the other hand, if you want to solve this problem, without having the Jews move away, you cannot be too exact in analyzing the problem. These youth are the lost children of Germany, Annefranking them won´t work. There are nice Jewish-Muslim initiatives around. Social Media is full of Israel-loves-Iran and interreligios conferences. But Coexistence has to be done, not to be „liked“. Europe is having harsh times, social unrest is spreading throughout the Western world. If civilization will fail or not, will depend on battle grounds like this. Will the state just advise tourist brochures to mention no-go-areas or is there a will to go as far as the Danish monarchs during WWII, and when in doubt, wear the star themselves, out of a principle.