Rabbi Elie Rosen, who was attacked in Graz over the weekend, warns against focusing too much on the far-right scene in the fight against anti-Semitism. He observes growing Israel-related and Muslim anti-Semitism.
"I can say from my everyday life: the anti-Semitism we are most confronted with is Israel-related and in second place Muslim anti-Semitism," he said in an interview with Die Welt (Wednesday).
In Graz, these forms of hostility toward Jews are particularly relevant, stressed the president of the Jewish community there: "The city is known for its radical Islamist and jihadist scene; there is a certain breeding ground there."From politics, he expects that "the resolutions against the BDS movement, which wants to boycott Israel, will also be implemented".
"Danger does not only come from right-wing anti-Semitism"
He hopes the attack on the Graz community is a lesson to all, showing "where Israel-related and Muslim anti-Semitism can lead. Not only right-wing anti-Semitism poses a danger."
Rosen was threatened with a wooden club by an unknown person in front of the Jewish community center in Graz on Saturday evening, but remained unharmed because he was sitting in a car. According to Rosen, the attacker resembled the person who had been visible on surveillance cameras in the course of two attacks on the Graz synagogue last Wednesday and Friday. The outer wall was smeared with pro-Palestinian slogans and a window of the community center was damaged.
Concern about copycats
Police arrested a 31-year-old Syrian and ame an Islamist motive. Interior Minister Karl Nehammer called the man a "radical Islamized anti-Semite who is also homophobic on top of that". The suspect has also been charged with acts of vandalism against an institution of a gay and lesbian association in Graz as well as a church.
Rosen added that there was further concern that the acts could find imitators. The important thing, he said, is to protect and secure Jewish communities. In addition, more must be done against Jew-hatred, especially in education: "We must start with the children. We must try to curb anti-Semitism. This is something we can achieve in steps. Anything beyond that, I think is an illusion."