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tv   Quadriga - The International Talk Show  LINKTV  January 25, 2018 7:00pm-7:31pm PST

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♪ melinda: hello and welcome to grandchild this saturday is jeh
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quit his school after suffering abuse at the hands of his classmates. "living in fear: how anti-semitic is germany?" that is our topic this week on are oura" and here guests. we welcome kristen helberg. she is a freelance journalist who recently wrote a book about syrian refugees in germany. she says germany needs a more inclusive memorial culture and more backbone in the fight against all forms of marginalization. and we are very pleased to have alan posener on the show once again. he is a commentator for "die welt" and he says jews held responsible for every real or imagined
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injustice perpetrated by israel. and finally, we are happy to welcome wenzel michalski. he is the director of human rights watch. he has experienced the problem we are talking about firsthand. he says this is increasingly normalized and the state is responding to slowly. suffered theon who abuse that i referred to at the opening of the show. would you tell us a little bit about what happened there? mr. michalski: he was new at this cool. at the end of the first week, the teacher asked what kind of world religions do you guys know and what kinds of houses of worship. church, mosque, and it was my sons turn and he said synagogue. the teacher asked if he was jewish and he responded yes. that is when everything started. melinda: what exactly was everything? mr. michalski: it started with verbal abuse and bullying but
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also physical attacks. he was beaten there he badly. melinda: at whose hands? otherchalski: the students did this. there was also a mock execution and that was a point that we took him out of the school. roughly three months later. melinda: according to many newspapaper reports, otherer ststudents included arab studen. is that correct? mr. michalski: mostly turkish. and he was not the only one who was bullied. kurdish, black, gay students and girls were also badly abused. and the school did nothing. case, because he was jewish it was even worse. melinda: your opening statement see this asu do not an isolated phenomenon and yet the governments anti-semitism
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report comes to the conclusion that in comparison with any other time before world war ii or thereafter, open anti-semitism has rarely been less tolerated by the broad majority of society than today. how do you reconcile that statement with what your child experienced? mr. michalski: firstly, we germans have learned how to answer questions about anti-semitism. would say -- i am anti-semitic or i hate shoes. people have -- or i hate jews. people have learned how to answer the questions so they do not appear anti-semitic. but they are. the fact that the management of the school, the headmaster did nothing to protect my son, even after we asked him again and again shows a pretty big resentment against jews because
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otherwise, this person would have been alarmed and in fact the people who were politically responsible for this goal. and we have learned from other schools in dusseldorf and frankfurt and elsewhere, similar incidents. now it is in public and people talk about it. melinda: alan posener, the same report i just quoted from, although the government admits that the attitudes among the broad majority have not changed, it does it met there is increased anti-semitic activity in terms of propaganda, verbal and physical abuse. what exactly is going on? are we seeing a my nordion on the margins of society that feels increasingly empowered to act out? alan: there is that.
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anti-semitism is a multifactorial thing. it is stupid to say that but it is true. there are if you like traditional, real anti-semites who some may feel emboldened by the internet or the media. there are new anti-semites that call themselves anti-globalists who are situated in the new party, the alternate for germany. boils down tol the old enemy and then there is something on the left, among the muslim community which is anti-zionism. the 1968ers967 -- were so proud about confronting their parents about the not see past. which is true to a point -- about the nazi past. which is true to a point.
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since then, it is a given if you are on the left that you are critical of israel. thee is no acceptance of fact that israel is the only democracy that gays, and lesbians and transgender people -- this all comes together. the three aspects. melinda: kristen helberg, would you agree? are we seeing a rise in intolerance? kristin: i think what has really changed is the climate in discussion,ublic private discussion. a lot of things are being said that would have been impossible 10 years ago. and this does not go only for anti-jewish resentment but it goes for anything that is considered different, that is considered alien to germany somehow. we have a growing sentiment that
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everything should be as it is and germans are one nation and they look like this and whoever comes here has to act like this. assimilation. a goes not only against jews but especially against muslims right now. if you read texts and replace "jewish""muslim" with it is very frightening. stigmatization against minorities. this is a big problem inside germany. melinda: i want to talk about what affects the change in climate has. we have a short film. in recent years, berlin has seen a rebirth of jewish life but could this increasingly be perceived as a less than welcoming place? we can listen now to the voices children.michalski's
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[ video clip ] highway thought it was better to say i was not jewish. -- i always thought it was better to say i was not jewish. i hardly told anyone. not at university either. >> i do not keep quiet about it. to me, that would feel like something i should be ashamed about. even though it is not the same for you. it is not a secret. i am j jewish. if people do not like it, that is their problem. has the mobbing experience that your son went through changed children's attitude? if you look toward the young israelis who in the past years have been coming to berlin with great alacrity, would you say to those thinking about coming, better stay away? mr. michalski: i would not say
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better stay away better brace yourself and be aware to what kind of city and what kind of country you are coming to. whichok really carefully area you want to live in. but, i think most israelis coming to germany are aware of these rings. that anyonegine wanting to resettle in germany would not have thought about that. melinda: have your children's attitudes changed? mr. michalski: i do not think their attitudes have changed because they were always aware of this. my daughter, as we have seen , said she would not there should -- she said she would rather not admit she is jewish. she is studying in england. my son studies in the u.s. and it is not such a big problem there. they see it from their own point of vieiew but it has changed my
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son, my wife and i and my parents. we see this country now with the difference -- with other eyes. melinda: your parents being holocaust survivors. mr. michalski: yes. melinda: alan posener, let us talk about the link between criticism of israel and anti-semitism. where and when does the one shade into the other? and would you say given germany's crimes that germans simply should refrain criticizing israel altogether? alan: of course not. this is a country like every other so it is a country that makes mistakes. maybe commits crimes and these can be criticized. the thing is -- there is a word in german called "israelcritique" which means criticism of israel. but there is no such thing as -- melinda: french criticism. alan: it is only aimed at the
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jewish state. if you ask -- where does it shade? there is a clear definition which has been accepted by the european community and by the german government and this is demonization,-- the legitimate to say should and -- the legitimization -- delegitimazation and double standards. if you delegitimize it by saying we will boycott your country -- this is where "israelcritique" becomes anti-semitism. obviously. wasnda: criticism of israel much in evidence at a demonstration in december that was amongst the incidents fueling fear of the rise of anti-semitism in germany. let us take a look.
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demonstration, it took place in berlin after donald trump's announcement that it would move the embassy to jerusalem. the demonstrators burned israeli flags. kristen helberg, at the protests, cameras did capture young men of arab origin sitting on each other's shoulders and shouting and chanting. in recent report from the american jewish committee that i mentioned earlier documents some pretty egregious expressions of anti-semitism among arab immigrants in germany. thatopening statement says backbone is needed but what kind of backbone is needed here in this case? our arab immigrants who have come i in the past couple of yes part of the reason we are seeing ththis trend toward greater intolerance? kristin: there is a great problem of anti-semitism among
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arab or turkish and stars. i agree. we have to make an important difference between people who were born here or second and third generation who were raised here and into to german school and should have learned some political roles and some understanding of germans not only concerning anti-semitism that what has been written in the german constitution that no end should be privileged or neglected for his religious -- for his religion or ethnic background. the other story is refugees that have come here in the past two years from syria for example. politicalthere is a problem with israel. until now, israel has been occupying the syrian golan heights. syrians have learned all of their lives that israel is the enemy. this is the narrative that these young people come to germany with.
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this cannot be changed easily with an integration course. it needs time. they have other problems because there are problems about integration. but what is really a problem for me is when people who grew up and have gone to german school still have the anti-semitic, anti-muslim come against everything that is considered to be different. that is a big problem for me. have structural problems ,nside germany among germans and people with migration backgrounds and we have to confront this. maybe we need a different culture of remembrance of the holick is. --inda: let me just ask you would you say that angela merkel's open-door policy has in fact paved the way for this rise in anti-semitism?
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have we imported the middle east conflict into the heart of germany? mr. michalski: the first question i would say -- not at all. the people we see here demonstrating are mostly people who came here a long time ago. , they areoliticized activists. hamas is behind these people. we see them regularly at anti-israeli demonstrations in berlin. we have to understand that these people are here in germany and we have to deal with them. but, what we have not dealt with educating young germans and muslims in a smart way -- kristin: german muslims. mr. michalski: mostly they are german muslims, to see this.
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the call of some conservatives, the party members here in germany to expel all foreign muslims is very shortsighted because it puts the finger only on a certain group which we have to deal with, of course -- kristin: which does not represent all of the muslims in germany. mr. michalski: also this. melinda: the effort to educate has been a part of effort in germany to come to terms and confront the crimes of the holocaust. even a special word for it -- confrontation with the past. one example of that confrontation is the culture of remembrance including a monument that remembers the holocaust just a few kilometers from here. [ video clip ] ♪ >> the memorial to the murdered jews of europe. it took a good 25 years for the
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to be brought to completion. its location in the berlin government district is the most visible demonstration of germany's attempt to live up to its history. unobtrusive in contrast are what are called stumbling stones. a reflect the every day harbors of the nazi era. tens of thousands have been placed a cross germany and europe making them the world's largest decentralized memorial. and then, there are the places of harbor themselves such as -- places off horror themselves suh as auschwitz. what is the right form of remembrance? ♪ melinda: alan posener, the former german president said to hear's ago there is no german --ntity without auschwitz said two years ago that there is
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no german identity without auschwitz. migratinglly expect individuals into germany to have the same perspective? alan: the first aspect is that this is not a german question. and remainst was something that is important for every person everywhere in the world whether you are a german, a jew, a german jew, a german muslim, an american -- they have a holocaust museum in washington, why? because this is something we all need to think about. it is not a question of asking my grandchildren to take responsibility given that their great-grandfather was it you -- -- was a jew? every human being needs to crime isd that this
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something that must not happen again. which leads us up again to israel. if you are talking about israel not having the right to exist. which is precisely what the holocaust was about.t. we need to make this connection. there is a second problem. holocaustk about the as saying it must never happen again. it won't happen like that. it will be an iranian missile against tel aviv. ie synagogues will be burned arab's here in germany. it will happen in a different way. kristin: we have to disconnect israel.criticizing i know you are saying it is possible -- alan: we cannot disconnect it. israel is where the jews went when the germans kicked them out if they did not kill them. there is no way -- difficultt is very
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for people who come from syria for example and who perceive israel as an enemy and palestinians who feel their rights have been taken away by the very state of israel. it is not so easy to say -- it is anti-israel or "israelcritique" is equal to anti-zionism. by mixing these things up -- , i am perfectly sympathetic with a palestinian that says my grandparents lost their home and i cannot be expected to like israel. but when he says i am going act one day and this will be part of palestine and the jews will be gone -- melinda: i'm really sorry. may i interrupt because i would like to come back to the cultlte ofof remembrance and ask you kristin helper, after the december protest that we saw the pictures of, there were calls
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from a number of people for there to be mandatory visits to remembrance sites such as concentration camps for those young muslims in germany. you said we have a problem particularly with young muslim men, particularly those that have been here for quite some time. would that make a difference? mandatory withng teenagers will not work. that is an important point. i think it would be very good if people came to a point that they would like to go there and confront this. posener thatmr. this is not a german thing but an international scale -- a crime against humanity. this is a big chance. if we consider this part of german identity, then we have to make it more inclusive for whoever lives in germany now. germany has changed. it is an integrated country. we have to talk in schools in a
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different way about the holocaust. it should not just be a chapter in the history books but it should be connected to what has happened in the middle east. how did those regimes position themselves on this issue? by connecting this with other countries, make it more international in the way you talk about it, we keep it as a pillar for german identity. melinda: what do you think needs to happen? the councilead of of german jews has called for a new authority that would monitor and defend against the rise of anti-semitism. there has been calls for mandatory visits to concentration camps. what steps you think should be taken in germany now? mr. michalski: the fact that we onl have a special envoy
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anti-semitism is a good step in the right direction. subject, i must say that we are very good in germany in remembering and creating memorials. we are world champions. but the danger is that we have hidden our present day anti-semitism that is still there under those memorials. we have to deal much more with present-day anti-semitism and the ant is -- and the anti-semitism of the people who would not regard themselves as anti-semites or anti-racists. that is something just a label. and under the surface, it is still boiling. melinda: how would you want to do that? what would you do with a school director that clearly did not get what was going on in his school? mr. michalski: yes, i think
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there has to be accountability. the director of the school. what can happen to him? the worst is that he is transferred to another school but then other people have to deal with him. there has to be a accountability at the schools. the schools and the teachers have to be trained to deal with the problem and they are not at the moment. they put their heads in the sand. melinda: let me briefly come back to our title and ask all of you in one word, if you look at the rest of europe and the rest of the world, how anti-semitic is germany? alan: middling. kristin: it is not more anti-semitic but badly enough -- bad enough. mr. michalski: the question is how is germany dealing with the current anti-semitism? melinda: and not well enough. thank you be much to all three of you for being with us today and thanks to all of you for tuning in.
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please be sure to watch the film that we are showing on dw. thank you so much. ♪
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