Now, of course, he feels misunderstood, Holger Stahlknecht, Minister of the Interior of Saxony-Anhalt. Him and anti-Semitism? Oh no! And it can be.
But what cannot be in these times when anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism are frighteningly rampant must be phrased in such a misleading way.
During a visit to the Dessau-Roßlau police station, the conservative Stahlknecht also commented on the surveillance of Jewish institutions. Earlier it was discussed that the district was doing 1,500 extra hours of work; the minister said, according to the “Mitteldeutscher Zeitung”, that these working hours were missing elsewhere. As a result, the police may not be on time for every request.
That the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, attacked Stahlknecht shouldn’t surprise anyone. Anti-Semitism, right-wing radicalism and racism are not special features of Saxony-Anhalt or an individual location.
Instead, the situation across Germany is not exactly helping to spread the mantle of silence on such statements; the national situation report on right-wing extremism with security authorities does the rest.
The chairman of the Central Council questions the suitability of Stahlknecht for a position – that is going too far
Initially, Stahlknecht did not even notice that his statements could reinforce anti-Semitic narratives. The impression that Jews are guilty if the police can no longer adequately look after the interests of the rest of the population can be aroused very quickly via the internet.
Yes, Schuster goes on, speaks of Stahlknecht portraying Jews as privileged and playing them off against other population groups, and then he asks himself and others whether the minister is still suitable for his office.
With this in turn, the head of the Central Council, with all understanding for indignation, is going a bit too far.
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It can be assumed that Stahlknecht at least knows that: The – increased – police presence to protect the Jewish institutions is essential in Saxony-Anhalt, especially after the attack in Halle about a year ago.
He arranged this presence himself. It can happen that other tasks are put in the background; it is a result of deciding what is most important. This makes it all the more important to explain exactly why what is needed and how. Don’t be misunderstood: that is the responsibility of politicians. They are faced with this challenge, which they have to face. Such as criticism when that fails. But we can learn from that. Outside Saxony-Anhalt.