Shalom Life | August 05, 2015

Jews Still Face Anti-Semitism at Maccabi Games in Berlin

Though many feel vindicated at Jewish Olympics being held in Germany, many athletes still face anti-Semitism

By: B. Shane Morganstein

Published: August 4th, 2015 in Sports » World

Jews Still Face Anti-Semitism at Maccabi Games in Berlin

Photo: Members of Israel's Maccabi team in Berlin

Credit: Times of Israel


Though many Jews were hoping for a clean experience in Berlin that might help vindicate the country for its role in the Holocaust, many athletes were disappointed this week as anti-Semitism proved to be alive and well at the Maccabi Games.

Dr. Shimon Samuels, the director for International Relations at the Simon Weisenthal Center, called on German Justice Minister Heiko Maas on Monday to condemn "the Jew-baiting of Maccabi athletes" at the Maccabi Games in Berlin.

Dr. Samuels began his letter to the minister with praise, thanking Maas for "welcoming the Maccabi Games to Berlin as a gift that Germany, after the Holocaust did not deserve."

However, "apparently not everyone shared those sentiments" as expressed by President Joachim Gauck, who had said he was "very moved" that the games had chosen Berlin as its host city.

Unfortunately, athletes have encountered a great deal of anti-Semitism in their time so far in the German capital. According to Samuels, many German-Muslims had engaged in "anti-Semitic taunting" of the athletes at the Hotel Estrel, which had been hosting many of the athletes. Furthermore, many threats to the athletes were made online by German neo-Nazi groups, with some German reporters joining in on the Jew-taunting.

"Maccabi's return to Berlin, to the very stadium built for Adolf Hitler, was to have been a vindication of the united democratic Federal German Republic. Instead, the Jewish contestants had to be warned not to wear Stars of David or kippot from fear of violence," Dr. Samuels continued.

He then went on to urge the German Justice Minister to "vigorously condemn this Jew-baiting and take all legal measures available to apprehend those who would return us to 1936. This anti-Semitism targets Jews directly on German soil. It cannot be argued away as 'anti-Zionism' or 'anti-Israelism'."

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