A few days before the sixth anniversary of 9/11, a young man ranting in Arabic accosted a rabbi walking home from his synagogue in an upscale neighborhood of Frankfurt, and stabbed him. As he shoved the blade of his pocketknife into the rabbi's stomach, he switched from Arabic to German and told the man: "You sh---- Jew, I'm going to kill you." The rabbi survived, and Jewish leaders in Germany were outraged and condemned the barbarism, but moderated their criticism.
"We oppose leveling blanket accusations at the Muslim community because the majority of Muslims in Germany condemn acts of violence in the name of Islam," Dieter Graumann, the vice president of the German Jewish Council, said. But he observed that Islamist hate preachers regularly exhort young Muslims to carry out jihad against Jews, and asked why so few leaders of the Islamic community in Germany speak out against violence in the name of Mohammed.
This attack on the rabbi coincided with a visit to Washington by my daughter's family from Berlin. They brought rave reviews of Germany's largest synagogue, just now reopened in their neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg in East Berlin. The Nazis set the synagogue afire on Kristallnacht and, adding insult to injury, used the ruined synagogue as a stable for horses. The renovation is hailed as a symbol of regeneration and revival of German Jewish life annihilated by the Holocaust. Like all synagogues in Germany, 24-hour police protection is required to prevent violence from Neo-Nazis and Islamist terrorists.
While the Germans have made enormous efforts to atone for the Holocaust, the attempted murder of the rabbi invites attention to a contemporary problem. Radical Islamists who go undercover in Germany fuse anti-Semitism with hatred for America, and the antecedents of this hatred are rooted in the Germany of Adolf Hitler.
Matthias Kuntzel, a Hamburg-based political scientist, writes of this in the current Weekly Standard. In "Jew-Hatred and Jihad: The Nazi Roots of the 9/11 Attack," he traces the connection to Arab and Muslim hatred of the Jews that fed the fantasies of der Fuehrer. He suggests it's no coincidence that assaults on the World Trade Center were orchestrated by an al Qaeda cell in Hamburg, where five of the conspirators -- from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Yemen and Morocco -- met with sympathizers for regular meetings of a "Koran circle."