German anti-Semitism tsar calls for more legal action against slurs

The legal system should pursue anti-Jewish slurs more consistently, the German government’s anti-Semitism commissioner said in comments to the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

“Unfortunately it is happening too often that these cases are simply closed,” Felix Klein said.

He called for greater awareness from the authorities.

“Police, prosecutors and judges must be better trained.”

The number of anti-Semitic crimes rose by around 20 per cent in 2018 compared to the previous year, Klein told the Sunday newspaper.

In Germany, anti-Semitic crimes remain overwhelmingly of a right-wing extremist nature.

Klein cited a general coarsening of attitudes as one of the main reasons for anti-Jewish incidents.

“The threshold for expressing anti-Semitic views has dropped. Both online and in real life.”

Klein also called for internet providers to systematically bring accountability for anti-Semitic hate speech, regardless of where the provider is based.

“Prosecutors here in Germany must have a right to that information,” he said, adding that those who spread anti-Semitic hate in Germany must be made accountable in Germany.

The commissioner added that football has a “dramatic anti-Semitism problem,” with offensive slogans being chanted by fans. The Berlin-based Jewish football club Makkabi is regularly faced with hostility, he added.

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