Merkel pledges to protect Jews in Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledges the country’s Jewish community Wednesday her unwavering support as she condemns anti-Semitic slurs and threats at pro-Palestinian demonstrations, a government spokesman says.

The spokesman, Georg Streiter, says Germany would not tolerate aggression against the resurgent Jewish population, after demonstrators attending protests against the Israeli offensive in Gaza used violent slogans.

“The chancellor and the entire German government condemn the anti-Semitic remarks made at pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli demonstrations in Germany in the strongest terms,” Streiter tells reporters.

“These outbursts are an attack on freedom and tolerance and an attempt to shake the foundations of our free and democratic system. We cannot and will not tolerate this.”

Streiter says any violence against Jewish people or institutions would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“The chancellor and the entire government welcome the revival of Jewish life in Germany and will continue to stand up for the security of Jewish citizens,” he says.

He adds that the German government saw Israel as a “friend and partner” and would work with “all its strength” to maintain those ties.

Meanwhile German President Joachim Gauck telephones the leader of the country’s 200,000-strong Jewish community, Dieter Graumann, to discuss “dreadful anti-Semitic incidents” in recent days.

Graumann says in a statement that Gauck told him he took Jewish fears “very seriously.”

“Many members of our community are very shaken, worried and absolutely shocked by the worst anti-Jewish slogans that some out-of-control crowds have shouted, calling for Jews to be ‘gassed,’ ‘burned’ and ‘slaughtered’,” Graumann says.

He says Gauck and several other officials had assured Jews that they are “welcome and not alone.”


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