BERLIN (JTA) – Germany’s mainstream conservative parties are proposing legislation that would allow states to expel foreigners who make anti-Semitic statements, including the refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
The party of Chancellor Angela Merkel – the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and its sister party in Bavaria, the Christian Social Union (CSU), have proposed legislation that they say would take such hate crimes “much more seriously,” according to the German newspaper Die Welt.
Party leaders reportedly hope that the legislation will be passed before International Holocaust Memorial Day, January 27, which recalls the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp by Red Army troops in 1945.
CDU legislator Stephan Harbarth told Die Welt that the move was intended to crack down on anti-Semitism among “migrants with Arab background and from African countries.” While education and other preventive work are important, the state must be able to wield the ultimate threat of deportation, he said. “Anyone who incites anti-Semitic hate and rejects Jewish life in Germany cannot stay in our country,” he said.
A recent survey of new refugees, commissioned by the American Jewish Committee, found that anti-Semitic attitudes and rejection of Israel are widespread among the newcomers. At least 1 million Muslim refugees have arrived in Germany since the summer of 2015. The AJC and numerous Jewish leaders in Germany have called on the federal government to appoint a commissioner to deal with anti-Semitism, from prevention to punishment.
According to Die Welt, the CDU and CSU also are calling on the Bundestag to condemn and hinder anti-Israel boycotts and to ensure negative consequences if an airline from an Arab country refuses to allow Israeli citizens to board its flights within Germany.
In November, the state parliament in Hesse called on the federal government to prevent Kuwait Airlines from taking off and landing in Germany as long as it continues to ban Israeli citizens from boarding those flights.
The move followed a ruling by a Frankfurt court that it could not prevent Kuwait Airways from barring Israeli citizens from boarding its planes in Germany.
Meanwhile, Sawsan Chebli, state secretary for federal affairs for the city of Berlin, has said that young migrants who have chanted anti-Israel slogans in demonstrations in Germany should be required to visit a concentration camp memorial.
Chebli, a Muslim of Palestinian background, told the Bild newspaper that “everyone in this country should be required to visit at least once in their life a concentration camp memorial site. That also applies to newcomers to this country. It should be a required part of the integration program,” she said.