A Jewish student is beaten in Berlin. The university leadership's reaction to this is emblematic of how it addresses anti-Semitism.

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The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on the 85th anniversary of the night of the pogrom Photo: Jörg Carstensen/dpa

Oh, it's difficult for a university management like that. A Berlin student beats a classmate to the point of hospitalizing him because he is Jewish and has drawn attention to the fate of the Hamas hostages. Josef Schuster of the Central Council of Jews in Germany then demands that the bully be expelled from the university.

But oh, the Berlin university law is against this. At most, and possibly, a ban can be imposed on the attacker, who “is suspected of having anti-Semitic motivations,” he says. However, this applies for a maximum of three months. And then?

The excuses from the Free University (!) of Berlin are typical of how notorious anti-Semites are treated in this country. In principle and in general, the hatred towards Jews that has been widespread for months is considered repugnant and unpleasant. People are happy to make solemn appeals pointing out that something like this is completely inappropriate, especially in view of the unpleasant Nazi past.

But when it becomes concrete, when Jews in Germany are beaten, threatened and intimidated, when hatred of Jews is spread publicly, then the reactions become imprinted. After all, distributing sweets during a massacre is not a crime. After all, officials have many other important tasks to fulfill besides pursuing anti-Jewish hatred. After all, not even the university management can meticulously investigate every incident. After years of tolerance, police are finally taking action against anti-Semitic remarks at pro-Palestinian protests.

students homework

Empathy towards Jews is as rare as a hostage poster that is not torn down within a short time.

Ignorance of Jewish suffering is, of course, not a state or university phenomenon, but also applies to ordinary people and students. Hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets these days against right-wing extremism.

That's a very good thing! But only small groups of people gather at demonstrations against Jew-hatred and Hamas terrorism, and they are always the same people. It seems as if the vast majority believe that these things are none of their business. Empathy towards Jews is as rare as a hostage poster in Gaza that is not torn down shortly after.

Nothing is yet known about the demonstrations at the Free University of Berlin after the anti-Semitic incident, and it was not the first such event at this university in recent weeks. It would be up to students to make sure they don't have to sit in a lecture hall with anti-Semitic bullies.