Antisemitism conference in Germany counters rising Jew-hatredPublished on: 14.10.2021
By: Ester Heinzmann
Uniting to confront the rising antisemitism – this was the central message of a conference held in southern Germany in September which drew approximately 280 delegates from across the country. ICEJ-Germany, a key partner in the event, was represented by three speakers.
The opening address by Dr Michael Blume, Commissioner on Antisemitism for the German state of Baden-Württemberg, was followed by high-profile speakers on effective measures to counter the current rise of antisemitism. Gottfried Bühler, National Director of ICEJ-Germany, urged church leaders not to treat Israel and the Jewish people as a side issue but to regularly address it in in their teaching.
Dr Blume expressed concern that merely teaching Holocaust history in schools was not sufficient. He emphasised the particular importance of personal encounters between Jews and non-Jews. Bühler agreed and related how ICEJ-Germany regularly organises visits by Holocaust survivors to public schools which have proven to greatly impact hundreds of students involved.
Another conference speaker was Ahmed Mansour, an Israeli-born German-Arab psychologist and author. “Germany has a historical responsibility, in particular to fight antisemitism”, he said.
Holocaust survivor Ruth Rosenstock also shared her experiences during World War II. She survived the Shoah in Mikuliczyn (modern-day Ukraine). Her father and many other Jews from her village were brutally murdered by the Nazis. “I owe it to God to tell my story”, Rosenstock told a moved audience.
The delegates also discussed current developments in various seminars and workshops. In his seminar “Anti-Israelism – the new Antisemitism?” Gottfried Bühler explained that indifference towards God’s plan with Israel is one breeding ground for antisemitism. Christoph Scharnweber, Isaiah-62-Prayer-Coordinator, highlighted how politics, the media and anti-Israel boycott movements repeatedly evaluate Israel through a double standard and how Christians can counter this. Ester Heinzmann of ICEJ’s PR team elaborated on the dangerous spread of Jew-hatred on the Internet and why Christians in particular need to join the Jewish people in fighting this poison.
The one concern all the speakers unanimously emphasised was the increasing intensity of antisemitism in Germany and worldwide. More than 75 years after the Shoah, it is more important than ever for Christians and other friends of Israel to not only acknowledge this development but also stand alongside Israel and the Jewish people – in word and deed.