NIt's not just in Berlin that there are increasing anti-Semitic demonstrations and attacks among students in and outside of universities. The violent attack by a student of Arab origin against a Jewish fellow student at the Free University of Berlin caused horror across the region. Many Jewish students and university teachers no longer dare to go to colleges or universities. The Central Council of Jews has also identified structural deficits in the fight against anti-Semitism as the cause of the ongoing hatred of Jews at German universities.

Heike Schmoll

Political correspondent in Berlin, responsible for “Bildungswelten”.

Alarmed by this situation, Central Council President Josef Schuster suggested to the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) that a joint working group be set up. It should address the disastrous developments and take viable steps to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for Jewish students and teachers at universities.

After an initial, international discussion with science ministers and representatives of the University Rectors' Conference (HRK), Schuster said on Thursday in Berlin that it was a first step towards cooperation, at the end of which measurable recommendations would be developed in the fight against anti-Semitism on campus . “We need structural changes at universities such as reliable contact points for Jewish students and clear guidelines against organizations and groups that glorify terror and propagate hatred of Israel and Jews.”

The structural problems were already identified in the “action plan against anti-Semitism and hostility to Israel” adopted by the KMK on December 7th last year. Now it's time to take effective steps. The events in Germany after October 7th left deep marks on Jews. The feeling of constant hostility from a Muslim-dominated anti-Semitic scene and a lack of empathy towards these experiences in parts of society was a deep turning point, especially for young Jews.

Universities increasingly became the center of attention. Disturbing reports of a climate of fear and threats against Jewish students and teaching staff reached their lowest point in the brutal attack on a Jewish student in Berlin, said Schuster. “He ended up in the hospital with serious facial injuries because he is Jewish and because he showed solidarity with Israel and called for the release of the hostages held by Hamas.”

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