German Christians urged to step up the fight on Jew hate

Leader of Germany’s Evangelical church tells synod that Jewish people should ‘not have the slightest doubt that they can count on the churches' in battling antisemitism


The leader of Germany’s Evangelical church has told Christians to radically boost their efforts to fight against antisemitism.

Annette Kurschus, chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), emphasised the need for churches to stand with Jewish communities.

“No to antisemitism. We agree on that as a church, and hopefully in society too.

“Jewish people should ‘not have the slightest doubt that they can count on the churches,” she told the EKD’s synod last Sunday.

“There are trusting contacts at all levels. We support Jews and ask them how we can help them.

“We must not let up on this. What’s more, we have to improve on this.”

Kurschus went on to criticise what she referred to as “imported hatred of Jews”, expressing horror at the celebrations following the Hamas attacks in southern Israel on October 7.

The synod also delved into the complex issue of the war in Israel and Gaza. Kurschus, who also serves as president of the Evangelical Church of Westphalia, acknowledged that antisemitism is not confined to extremist groups, but rather “comes from our Christian history, it also germinates in our midst, even among our church members”.

She said that this issue has not been adequately addressed but can be rectified. She also voiced concerns about anti-Muslim resentment.

The synod chair, Anna-Nicole Heinrich, also called for the Protestant church to actively engage with society in combating antisemitism. “There must be no eerie silence. We must take a stand because antisemitism must have no place anywhere.

“As a Protestant church, we stand with the Jews. And we too must now put our words into action,” she said.

At a commemorative event on 8 November for the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht in Berlin, Kurschus said it was “unbearable that 85 years after Kristallnacht, Jews in Germany again have reason to fear going out on the streets, that they have to worry about their children in kindergartens and schools.

“Antisemitism, no matter what form it takes, must have no place in Germany. There is no justification for hatred of Jews.”

The synod is also considering changes to the church’s employment policies, aiming to make membership in the EKD church less critical for appointments within its organisations.

This move is part of the EKD church’s strategy to foster cooperation with people of other faiths and non-believers, while still maintaining certain areas where church membership is a prerequisite for employment.

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