(JTA) — German police officers wrestled to the ground and arrested a 50-year-old visiting professor wearing a kippah after he was assaulted in a Bonn park allegedly by a 20-year-old man with Palestinian roots.
The incident Wednesday is believed to be an anti-Semitic assault, according to the DPA news agency. Police apologized for what they said was a mix-up. The alleged assailant was taken to a psychiatric institution for observation and released shortly after the incident pending criminal charges, RP Online reported.
The Israel-born professor teaches philosophy at the University of Baltimore and was visiting Germany to deliver a lecture, the report said.
While the professor and a friend were strolling in the park at about noon, the suspect shouted anti-Semitic insults in English and German, including “No Jew in Germany!” and knocked the kippah from the professor’s head, according to the report. The alleged assailant then shoved the professor and hit him on the shoulder. The professor defended himself as his friend fetched police, who wrestled the professor to the ground but not the alleged assailant.
The professor’s name was not published in the German media.
“Media reports on how the incident was handled are deeply disturbing,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He added: “It is difficult to fathom how a middle-aged professor wearing a kippah would be identified as the perpetrator.”
The incident follows a spate of anti-Semitic assaults in Germany, including of an Israeli Arab who wore a kippah in Berlin in April to prove to a friend that doing so was safe. An assailant shouted “Jew” at him in Arabic while whipping him with a belt.
A Berlin-based center on anti-Semitism in April said the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany rose by 60 percent in 2017 over the previous year. According to the Research and Information Center on Antisemitism, 947 incidents were reported last year, compared to 590 in 2016.