(April 9, 2018 / JNS) German diplomat Felix Klein has been appointed the country’s first commissioner to combat anti-Semitism following a rise in such incidents in recent years.
The new anti-Semitism post was approved by German lawmakers earlier this year, following a rise in anti-Semitic protests in the country after U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. At the time, German lawmakers said anti-Semitic crimes “could still mainly be attributed to the far right, but that migration from the Middle East and North Africa had exacerbated the problem.”
Klein, who had been endorsed by German Jewish groups, was the Special Representative of the German Foreign Office for Relations with Jewish Organizations and Anti-Semitism Issues.
The decision was welcomed by the World Jewish Congress.
“Already a leader in Europe in the fight against anti-Semitism, Germany has taken another praiseworthy step in addressing the need for a dedicated and expert individual to protect the well-being of the country’s Jewish community, and Dr. Felix Klein is without a doubt the best choice for the position,” said Robert Singer, CEO and executive vice president of the Congress.
“Dr. Klein played a pivotal role in Germany’s efforts to combat anti-Semitism, drawing wide attention to the very real threats experienced by Jewish communities across Europe, to the dangers of far-right extremism and to the importance of preserving the memory of the Holocaust,” he said.
Last year saw a dramatic rise in anti-Semitism in Germany, with 1,453 incidents reported, including 32 incidents involving physical violence, 160 incidents of vandalism and 898 incidents of incitement to violence or hate speech directed at Jews.