EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Recently, about 20 Jews created a Jewish section in Germany’s right-wing populist and anti-Islam AfD party, prompting a dramatic reaction among the German Jewish community. Seventeen Jewish organizations came out against the Jewish AfD group. Yet the greatest threat to the Jewish community’s future in the country resides not with AfD but with the mainstream parties, the CDU and the SPD. Their joint governments have let in millions of immigrants, many of whom are anti-Semitic Muslims.
Jews fulfill many functions and roles in European societies. For many centuries they served as scapegoats for majority populations, and anti-Semitism has long been an integral part of European culture. The Jews’ symbolic role as quintessential stranger has declined since the massive influx of Arabs and Africans into Europe, as has their characterization as somehow “exotic.”
Jews are often early indicators of societal problems. Regular verbal and physical attacks on Jews by Muslims have drawn attention to several of the many problems brought into Europe by significant segments of these immigrant groups. In the wake of the Holocaust, new roles have emerged. These include the Jew as the typical victim and Jews as the benchmark of society’s morality on some issues.