Berlin launches awareness campaign to counter bias, hatred against Jews

The city of Berlin launched an ambitious poster campaign aimed at deepening awareness of antisemitic prejudice, at a time when anti-Jewish attacks in the German capital have reached new peaks.

The posters were unveiled at the Klosterstrasse underground station by Iris Spranger, the Berlin Interior Minister who represents the center-left SPD Party in the Berlin Senate. “The fight against antisemitism is a task for society as a whole. Every Berliner can pay attention to incidents and report them,” Spranger stated at the launch.

Urging the Berlin public to “look, recognize, act,” the campaign is built around four posters which emphasize the theme that antisemitism is not always visible at first glance.

One poster highlights how jokes and off-the cuff remarks can be interpreted as antisemitic, carrying the message “This is antisemitism, not a joke.” A second poster aims to place conspiracy theories beyond the pale of legitimate discourse, declaring “This is antisemitism, not a thesis.” The final two posters focus on antisemitic violence (“This is antisemitism, not a dispute”) and antisemitism in the arts and popular music (“This is antisemitism, not a rhyme”).

Sigmount Königsberg, a leader of the Berlin Jewish community, told local media outlets that the campaign would clarify that antisemitism began with what he termed the “little things.”

“For example, when it is said that we are not real Germans, or when we are held responsible for the actions of the State of Israel,” Königsberg explained.

Königsberg praised the poster campaign for underlining that “this problem will no longer be hushed up, as it was 10 or 15 years ago, but tackled aggressively.”

The “This is antisemitism” campaign will run throughout the city for the next two weeks, visible through posters, postcards and video displays, as well as educational presentations in schools.

Antisemitic incidents in Berlin peaked in the first six months of 2021 compared to years prior, fueled mainly by Israel-related hatred and protests against COVID-19 measures in which protestors appropriated the language and imagery of the Holocaust to register their objection to mass vaccination programs.

A total of 522 antisemitic outrages were registered in Berlin from January to June last year, showing an increase of about 17 percent year-on-year, according a report by RIAS, a Berlin-based monitoring institute.

The number was the highest since 2018.


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