Jewish man attacked in Berlin

A Jewish man is said to have been attacked in the middle of the day in Berlin-Charlottenburg.

The 55-year-old said he was recognizable as a Jew because of his clothes, the police said on Wednesday. Two people had run behind him on Tuesday, one had suddenly stabbed him in the back, and he was overthrown. Subsequently, the duo fled. Because of pain in the head and in one leg, the 55-year-old finally alerted the rescue service from home.

The police assume an anti-Semitic background, a spokesman said on Wednesday. The state police responsible for political offenses was investigating hate crime.

Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt reacted in dismay to the attack: “It is absolutely bitter to see that Jews on German roads are increasingly exposed to an anti-Semitic attack series.” Hate contributions in parliaments and social media ensured that public security for Jews living in Germany would become increasingly fragile, said the president of the European Rabbis Conference.

In late July, the rabbi of the Jewish community, Yehuda Teichtal, was the victim of an anti-Semitic attack in Berlin. Two men cursed and spit at Teichtal, who was accompanied by one of his children and had previously conducted a service in the district of Wilmersdorf. Hundreds later took part in a solidarity prayer, including Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) and his partner Natalia Wörner.

The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, has demanded more civil courage in the fight against anti-Semitism. “(That) just starts at the regular’s table,” said Schuster in an interview with the Bavarian TV. “Since you also have the courage to say when you say: You, are you really aware of what you just said?” Schuster called an example from everyday life.

“I have the feeling that the individual in German society sees this question or this problem of anti-Semitism as a marginal phenomenon to which he may not even attach so much importance,” said Schuster. “I feel, not only in Germany but especially in Germany, that the general social climate is changing, that obviously also red lines are being postponed,” said the president of the Central Council.

Berlin Interior Senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) announced to appoint an anti-Semitism officer for the police. This should “police train even more, anti-Semitic incidents to recognize, intervene accordingly and address this issue,” said the SPD politician of the “Berliner Zeitung” (Wednesday). In addition, State Secretary Torsten Akmann (SPD) convene a roundtable against anti-Semitism.

Merkel: “There are good reasons for US soldiers being in Germany”

Donald Trump threatens to withdraw part of the US soldiers stationed in Germany. Chancellor Merkel has now emphasized the importance of US military bases for Germany.

Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized the quality of American military locations in the debate over a potential relocation of US soldiers from Germany to Poland. “I think that the German stations are good places for the American soldiers,” she said after a meeting with the Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda. There was a lot of investment. “There are good reasons for the station locations in Germany and at the same time we know that we have to make an effort to make the Bundeswehr even fitter,” she added in view of the US criticism of German defense spending.

The background of the debate is a tweet of the US ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher. She had pointed out that unlike Germany, Poland spends two percent of its economic performance on defense. “We would welcome if American troops came to Poland in Germany,” she wrote, referring to US demands that the NATO countries would have to fulfill their self-commitments.

Merkel stressed again that Germany is steadily increasing its defense spending. Thus, there had been an increase of twelve percent from 2018 to 2019. In the coming year, there will be a significant increase again. On Tuesday she said that it would probably reach 1.41 percent of GDP. Lithuanian President Nauseda said that Poland and his country have had very painful experiences with Russia. “That’s why we take a closer look at these dangers than other countries.” At the same time, he thanked Germany for military assistance in the context of the NATO protests in the Baltics.

Council of Europe: Germany must do more against corruption

According to the anti-corruption body of the Council of Europe (GRECO), Germany does not take sufficient precautions against bribery in the Bundestag and must rectify it.

The German Council of Europe delegation must submit a report to the committee on this issue no later than June 2020, in which it shows that GRECO recommendations in the fight against corruption in parliament and in the judiciary would also be implemented, said the body based in the French Strasbourg on Monday.

GRECO criticized that German parliamentarians needed clearer rules for dealing with lobbyists, as well as private conflicts of interest and corporate interests of the deputies must be disclosed in more detail. Previous GRECO recommendations Germany had met only insufficient. In addition to Germany, according to GRECO, there are also non-compliance proceedings against Belarus, Hungary, Turkey, France, Ireland or Austria.

GRECO had initiated a so-called non-compliance with Germany at the end of June, as the panel considered that recommendations from 2015 were insufficiently taken into account.

Germany was recently reprimanded by GRECO for lack of transparency in party funding.

Transparency International judged the GRECO-Bilanz as “devastating”, the “blockade attitude of the Bundestag” was no longer acceptable. “The German parliament must set clear rules for dealing with lobbyists and work for a better disclosure of conflicts of interest,” said Norman Loeckel, the organization’s deputy head of the policy group.

Specifically, the GRECO Board complained that the Bundestag rejected the disclosure of shares of MEPs below a limit of 25 percent of the voting rights. The “Tagesspiegel” reported on the report at the end of last week. Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) told the newspaper that the Bundestag deals with the GRECO recommendations after the summer break. “I am sure that the political groups will scrutinize the recommendations of the report in the Legal Commission in order to reconcile the German legislation and the recommendations from Strasbourg.”

The Anti-Corruption Panel, in its annual report, said that the overall rate of implementation of GRECO recommendations is underway. Only just under 34 percent of the recommendations were fully applied last year in the member states.

The Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg, France, and its bodies are responsible for human rights issues and not part of the European Union. GRECO was launched 20 years ago and has a total of 49 member states.

Migrants from Turkey and Iran often have higher educations

More and more Turkish and Iranian migrants visited a university in their homeland before coming to Germany. Now, they should be integrated into the education system accordingly.

More and more asylum seekers with higher education are coming to Germany from Turkey and Iran. According to a report by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees on the “Potential of Asylum Applicants,” in 2018, 59.3 percent of asylum seekers from Turkey stated that they had previously attended a university. In 2017, the share was 46 percent.

A similar development is there for applicants from Iran. In 2017, 42.6 percent of all Iranian applicants had stated that they had attended a university in their home country, according to the report, and in 2018 it was 47.5 percent. The current statistics refer to self-reports of 65,000 adult applicants in 2018.

Integrate refugees into the German education system

Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) described it as “a challenge” to integrate refugees according to their qualifications into the German education system. This is especially true for highly skilled refugees, she told the newspaper. Through various measures, more than 20,000 refugees have already been admitted to regular university studies.

Asylum seekers from many other countries, according to the report, have a much poorer education. Only 17 percent had graduated from the main country of origin Syria, from Iraq only 14.2 percent. On average, the level of education is very low among applicants from Nigeria and Afghanistan.

US threatens Germany with troop withdrawal

Shortly before the planned European travel of US President Donald Trump, the US tightened their threats with a partial withdrawal of their troops from Germany.

“It’s really offensive to expect the US taxpayer to continue to pay more than 50,000 Americans in Germany, but the Germans use their trade surplus for domestic purposes,” said US Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell.

In the coalition, the statement triggered split reactions. SPD fraction manager Carsten Schneider spoke of a “Feldherrenpose” of the ambassador. “Germany can not be blackmailed,” he said. The Union, however, showed an understanding for the US anger. The left greeted Grenell’s advance and demanded a quick withdrawal.

US President Donald Trump, however, dodged the question of an impending partial withdrawal from Germany on Friday. Asked about relocating soldiers to Poland, Trump said Poland is a close friend of the United States. In addition, Warsaw offered to build at its own expense a base for the US troops. “They offered to pay for our troops and many other things, and so it should be,” he said in the White House. This is something quite different from the “stupid agreements” with other countries that only “exploited” the US.

Trump had brought a transfer from Germany to Poland in June during a visit by the Polish President Andrzej Duda in Washington into play. Before his visit to Poland at the end of August, the announcement could become more concrete. Georgette Mosbacher, the US Ambassador to Poland, said on Wednesday: “Poland fulfills its obligation to pay two percent of GDP against NATO, which Germany does not do. We would like US troops to come to Poland in Germany.”

Grenell agreed. “President Trump is right and Georgette Mosbacher is right,” he said. “Numerous presidents have asked Europe’s largest economy to pay for their own defense, a plea that has dragged on for many years and many governments.” Now you have reached the point at which the Americans and the US President would have to respond.

Germany is the country where by far the most US troops are stationed in Europe. And after Japan, it is the second largest foreign base of the US armed forces ever. The command centers for the US troops in Europe and Africa are in Stuttgart, the most important air force base of the United States in the Rhineland-Palatinate Ramstein and one of the largest military training areas in Europe in Grafenwöhr.

A total of 35,000 US soldiers are in Germany. In addition, 17,000 American and 12,000 German civilians are employed by the US troops. Tens of thousands more jobs depend on American forces.

Rumors of a troop reduction from annoyance over German military spending have been around for some time. But they had been denied at first. Grenell even announced an increase of 1,500 troops in September. Meanwhile, the sheet seems to have turned. Currently, the transfer of 1000 to 2000 soldiers is under discussion.