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Dr. Felix Klein, the Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight Against Antisemitism, and Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Israel’s Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism, spoke at the 2023 Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism in Dortmund, Germany, on Thursday, offering national-level perspectives on how to best tackle rising Jew-hatred globally, with a particular focus on the aftermath of the October 7th Hamas attack in Israel.
Commissioner Klein — who also appeared at the mayoral summit organized by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) in Athens, Greece in 2022 — talked about Germany’s National Strategy Against Antisemitism and for Jewish Life and the impact it has had since its unveiling a year ago.
Commenting on the events of October 7th and the antisemitic manifestations witnessed across Europe since then, Commissioner Klein said, “What we see in Europe, and Germany in particular, are the failures of our integration process. How in Germany can we see people with German national identity celebrate the murder of Jews? We have to address that. This country didn’t invent antisemitism, but the Holocaust was invented here. In Germany and Austria, we call this secondary antisemitism — ‘the Israelis are acting like the Nazis.’ This takes away automatically the guilt and responsibility of remembering the Holocaust. This is a special situation we have in Germany.”
Special Envoy Cotler-Wunsh highlighted the importance of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, noting, “‘Never Again’ is not meant to prevent the past, but a recurrence of the past. We would be remiss if we did not use in every space — international institutions in which international laws are being used to delegitimize the State of Israel, on social media, and in education — the IHRA definition of antisemitism. In police, education, Holocaust curricula, in cities, national strategies, we must identify and combat this strain of antisemitism that is anti-Zionism — the negation of Israel’s very right to exist.”
“The world before 10/7 and after 10/7 is not the same world,” she emphasized. “We cant expect Israel and Jews to go on as if nothing happened. We were violated. It has nothing to do with Palestinians. I dare say support for 10/7 is support for Hamas.”
For more information on the 2023 European Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism’s program and speakers, please visit: europeanmayors.combatantisemitism.org