German anti-Semitism keeps repeating

Fifty years ago, German authorities told Jews to wear yellow Stars of David on their clothing.

This week, the German authorities advised Jews not to wear any Stars of David, kippot or any other Jewish symbols that might invite an anti-Semitic attack.

How ironic.

We can always expect the unexpected from Germany. And unfortunately what we are hearing is as anti-Semitic today as it was in Nazi Germany.

A spokesperson for the Berlin police reportedly told an Israeli journalist that "all Berlin is safe for Jews. But the Berlin police cannot personally protect every rabbi or Orthodox Jew."

Is this a clumsy way of telling Jews to be careful, or is it institutionalized anti-Semitism within German life?

The police later apologized for their remarks but at the same time said individuals must think about what measures they can take as a precaution against crime and consider that such measures might include hiding any Jewish identification.

The German police, like authorities in France, blame recent anti-Semitic attacks on Arab youths who are responding to the Mideast conflict. But in Germany, no one has been caught, and there is no proof that the perpetrators were Arabs rather than homegrown neo-Nazis.

Let's face it. Jews in Germany today are no safer than Jews in France or elsewhere in Europe, where xenophobia is on the rise. Latent anti-Semitism existed long before World War II, and it continues to exist. The Mideast crisis just offers those who hate both a reason and an excuse to attack.

Counseling Jews to not look Jewish is no solution to reducing or eliminating anti-Semitism. Instead, European countries need to begin teaching tolerance at the grade-school level.

Jews, immigrants and people of color will never be safe until Germans, French and others are taught that hatred is unacceptable behavior. Let's hope it doesn't take another 50 years for that lesson to be taught.