German cardinal says antisemitism is an attack on us all

A prominent German cardinal of the Catholic Church has pledged that Jews and Christians will stand together in the fight against rising antisemitism in the country.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who is chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference and serves as the archbishop of Munich and Freising, said that “Christians and Jews will never separate again,” in the face of new antisemitism.

He made the comments during a panel discussion on antisemitism at the Catholic Academy in Berlin hosted by the German Bishops’ Conference and the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany.

Among prominent figures who attended were Katharina von Schnurbein, the European Commission coordinator on combating antisemitism; Armin Laschet, prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia; and Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the country’s EJC affiliate.

Marx went on to explain that the religious component of antisemitism is also playing a role in its rise.

“Antisemitism is an attack on us all! Christians and Jews will never separate again,” he added. “That, too, must be clear in our training centres. We need experience and sensitivity in this field.”

J. Schuster explained that the recent events in Halle “had consumed the Jewish community and led them into uncertainty.”

He said that in the last few years, making antisemitic comments has been made possible, which is “something that would not have happened a few years ago,” adding that “that’s a move of redlines.”

He also slammed the Berlin prosecution for releasing the suspect who attempted to enter a synagogue wielding a knife recently.

J. Schuster added that the many expressions of solidarity was “a hopeful sign.

“What we need [to combat antisemitism] is very cost-effective: we need the courage of each and every one of us. Civil courage can change our country,” the Jewish leader continued. “Through this a lot would be achieved.”

Ms. K. Von Schnurbein made it clear that “every generation is obliged” to fight antisemitism and encouraged organisation to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism.

“We all have to stand up to oppose any antisemitic hate speech,” she said. “The highly complex situation in Europe makes it necessary to agree on common standards – including the definition of antisemitism.”

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