Incidents of anti-Semitism have been on the rise in Germany.
Things have gotten so bad that — after a recent crime targeting two men because of their religious clothing — the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany warned Jewish people against wearing a kippah (skullcap).
Far-right groups have tried to shift the blame for these crimes to Muslim immigrants.
The tensions between Muslim and Jewish peoples is a story nearly as old as time itself. Far-right groups in Germany have tried to capitalize on this stereotype by blaming the rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes on Muslims.
The reality is these crimes are not being carried out by Muslims against Jews.
A report from Germany’s Interior Ministry shows that the exact opposite is true: 1,381 of the 1,468 reported anti-Semitic crimes in 2016 were in fact carried out by the same far-right groups trying to stir tension between the two communities of faith.
“They try to use the ‘We stand with the Jews so we can’t be racist, we’re not anti-Semitic’ line, which is of course what they are.” said Dalia Grinfeld, president of the Jewish Student Union of Germany.
Instead of living in fear, people in Germany organized “Kippah March” rallies to show their support for Jewish people.
Thousands of people turned out in Berlin for the event. And among those marching were many Muslims, including women who bravely donned kippah in a stunning display of solidarity.
Today was the “kippah march” in Germany: Germans showed solidarity with the Jewish community after a recent spate of antisemitic attacks by marching together wearing yarmulkes.
— Elad Nehorai (@PopChassid) April 25, 2018
Thank Elad for sharing these spectacular and spectacularly moving photographs.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) April 26, 2018
The display of unity was inspiring and potentially transformative.
This wasn’t even the first recent unity act between the Muslim and Jewish communities, who held a bike ride in March to show their support and solidarity.
One recent attack showed how horrific and indiscriminate hate crimes can be. A young man attacked in Germany wasn’t even Jewish. An Israeli of Arab decent, he’d worn the kippah to highlight the risks Jewish people are currently facing in Germany.
The responses from people of all different backgrounds in Germany has been a loving display of unity. One German newspaper even made a cut out kippah for people to wear to the marches.
Wow: Der @Tagesspiegel, one of Germany’s leading newspapers, printed a cut-out kippah in this morning’s paper ahead of today’s “kippah walk,” in which Germans of all walks of life are expected to wear Jewish skullcaps in solidarity with the Jewish community. #BerlinTrägtKippa pic.twitter.com/VE7L6RSA6X
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) April 25, 2018
Tension between people of different faiths seems to grab all the attention. But it’s good to be reminded that there’s love in the world .
With far-right groups getting more attention in America and across Europe, it’s easy to focus on what’s wrong in the world today.
And the very real threat of violence against marginalized groups should never be ignored.
But in moments of fear and hate, we’re reminded that compassion and solidarity are a far greater force for good that easily eclipse whatever challenges we face.