Demonstration against anti-Semitism

Around 2,000 people attend "Day of the kippah" in Bonn

In Bonn findet am Donnerstag der Tag der Kippa statt.

Around 2,000 people turned out in solidarity for “Day of the kippah”.

BONN. Around 2,000 people gathered in Bonn city center on Thursday for “Day of the kippah”.  The demonstration was organized in response to an anti-Semitic attack on an American-based Israeli professor who was visiting Bonn. 

This sentence occurred throughout the speech from Margaret Traub: “It’s enough.”  The chairwoman of the Jewish community in Bonn said, "It is intolerable that we are being attacked for one reason only: because we are Jews."  The occasion for her speech was the “Day of the kippah,” held in Bonn on Thursday. 

What triggered the demonstration was a recent incident in which a 20-year-old insulted and attacked the Jewish academic scholar Yitzhak Melamed at the Hofgarten park on Wednesday last week in broad daylight.  And it is apparently not an isolated case. Margaret Traub perceives a growing hatred of Jews in the society, "which is often hidden under the guise of criticism of Israel," she says.

She believes there is hostility towards Jews who openly practice their faith, and that Jewish children in kindergartens and schools are bullied because of their origins.  While the Central Council of Jews and the Jewish community in Bonn have long since discouraged their members from wearing the kippah because they consider it dangerous, Traub's sons in Israel could wear their religious headgear without danger.  And that is "in a country where 20 percent of the population is Muslim," explains Traub.

She was grateful that Mayor Ashok Sridharan had initiated the "Day of the kippah" following the attack on the professor. "It's good that so many citizens have responded to this call." About 2,000 people came to the Marktplatz in Bonn city center at noon, according to police. There were young and old, and Muslims with headscarves were also among them. Many wore a kippah to show their solidarity. Hossein Purkhassalian was one of them, he says: "As a Muslim, it is very important to me to show my solidarity with the Jews." Anne Knab came for the same reason. "When people are targeted because they belong to a particular group, that's one reason for me to take to the streets," she says.

Traub was not only concerned with anti-Semitism, but with attacks against minorities. She called for civil courage to stand up for a free society. Neither politicians nor the courts should be silent about the attacks.

Bonn’s Mayor Ashok Sridharan addressed Melamed in English: "I am ashamed of what happened to you in Bonn, and I invite you to come to Bonn one more time to see how open-minded and accepting the people of Bonn are.”  (Translator note: the word used by the mayor was “weltoffen”).  The city planned to let Melamed attend the event via Skype, but he could not accept the invitation because of a meeting with the German ambassador, he told GA. But Melamed emphasized the importance of the initiative and said that one must send a signal "against bigotry and racism in all its forms - from anti-Semitism to Islam hatred to xenophobia and hatred of migrants."

Sridharan was pleased that so many people responded to the call. Half the Marktplatz was filled. "By appearing together, we show that we oppose the increasing open hatred shown to our Jewish fellow citizens," he says. "The fight against anti-Semitism must be part of the political culture in Germany.”  He went on to say that in light of the “dark chapter” in German history,  “it is not just about our historical responsibility, but also about our responsibility for democracy in Germany. "

The mayor called for a "complete investigation" - both of the anti-Semitic attack as well as the police brutality used on the professor, when police officers mistook him for the perpetrator. Martin Frick of the United Nations Climate Secretariat also spoke briefly on behalf of the UN, emphasizing the importance of cooperation among people with different beliefs.

 

Orig. text: Philipp Königs

Translation: ck