A German state has called for the denial of citizenship to migrants who hold anti-Israel views as the country continues to contend with a surge of antisemitism since the October 7th massacres by the terrorist group Hamas, with the state urging other regional governments to follow their lead.
The state of Saxony-Anhalt, located in Germany’s east, has stated that all migrants looking to become German citizens will be required to write that they do not support the dismantling or destruction of the state of Israel.
According to a report from broadcaster Deutsche Welle, the new policy was announced by the state’s interior ministry and calls on local authorities to be vigilant regarding the opinions migrants exhibit on the subject of Israel and to watch out for antisemitic attitudes.
Those who refuse to write a letter explicitly saying they support Israel’s right to exist will not be granted citizenship, and their refusal will be kept on file by the state government.
Saxony-Anhalt Interior Minister Tamara Zieschang touted the new regulations ahead of a meeting of Germany’s state interior ministers and called on the rest of the country to follow the lead of her state and implement the same policy.
Zieschang is a member of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) that governs the region and has spoken frankly regarding the growing levels of antisemitism in Germany since the October 7th Hamas massacre of around 1,200 Israeli civilians.
CDU federal party leader Friedrich Merz has been outspoken on the issue since October, calling for the left-wing coalition federal government to crack down on acts of antisemitism, such as the attack on a Berlin synagogue in October and the multiple unauthorised pro-Palestine demonstrations, some of which have turned violent.
“Hatred of Jews and violent hostility against Israel must have no place in our country,” Merz stated.
The new policy in Saxony-Anhalt addresses the problem of antisemitism among migrants in Germany, primarily those from Islamic backgrounds.
Even former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who presided over Germany taking in over a million migrants in 2015 and 2016, admitted there was an issue with antisemitism among asylum seekers from the Arab world.
“We have a new phenomenon, as we have many refugees among whom there are, for example, people of Arab origin who bring another form of antisemitism into the country,” Merkel said.
Despite recognition of the problem and proposals to tackle it, a report released in July of this year by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation claimed that Muslims were far more likely to hold antisemitic views than other Germans, up to four times more.
The report did not state any definitive reason for why Muslims are more antisemitic, claiming the issue was complex and required further study, but did note how prevalent antisemitic views are in some of the countries from which Muslim immigrants originate.
Antisemitic attacks have surged across Germany since October 7th, according to the RIAS group, which stated in late November that between October 7th and November 9th, there had been 994 antisemitic incidents, three of which were cases of extreme violence.
RIAS stated that the number averaged out to 29 incidents per day which was an increase of around 320% compared to the same period during the previous year.