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Germany: Olaf Scholz calls for civil courage to protect Jews

Olaf Scholz said germany has "crystal-clear" laws against antisemitism

Olaf Scholz said germany has "crystal-clear" laws against antisemitism

Germany's Chancellor has urged people in the country to "protect Jews" after a number of antisemitic incidents were reported in relation to the conflict in the Middle East.

He said it was a matter of civil courage.

"Anyone who attacks Jews in Germany is attacking us all," Scholz said in an interview with the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper that is due to be published on Monday.

"We will not accept antisemitism. We have crystal-clear laws: It is a criminal offense to burn Israeli flags; It is a criminal offense to cheer the death of innocent people; It is a criminal offense to shout anti-Semitic slogans," Scholz continued.

Scholz's comments come amid the backdrop of pro-Palestinian rallies in Germany. Police have banned some of these events on the ground of antisemitism.

German authorities are investigating various cases on suspicion of incitement to hatred.

"The law enforcement authorities have the necessary tools and must use them consistently. My impression is that the police authorities and courts know what to do," Scholz said.

European Commission condemns 'spike' in antisemitic incidents

On Sunday, the European Commission condemned a spike in antisemitism following the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip against Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by the EU, the US, Germany and others.

The European Commission pointed to antisemitic incidents in Austria, France, Germany and Spain, as well as "demonstrators chanting hate slogans against Jews.”

"The spike of antisemitic incidents across Europe has reached extraordinary levels in the last few days, reminiscent of some of the darkest times in history," it said in a statement.

"We condemn these despicable acts in the strongest possible terms. They go against everything that Europe stands for," it continued.

In the statement, the European Commission also condemned "the rise in anti-Muslim hatred that we have been witnessing over the past weeks — which has no place in Europe."

zc/jcg (dpa, AFP)