Rabbi Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Center of Europe, slammed a call made by head of Germany's Jewish council Josef Schuster, who suggested that Jews shouldn't wear the traditional skullcap (kippa) in areas with large Muslim populations.
"This is a dangerous statement that was better left unsaid," Rabbi Menachem Margolin said, adding that "the call for Jews to hide their identity instead of calling upon European governments to provide all the necessary resources in order to battle anti-Semitism is irresponsible.
"If this statement was made by a non Jew, he would be considered an anti-Semite."
- German Jewish magazine to disguise its deliveries to subscribers
- Danish Jews hit by mounting anti-Semitism
- The intellectual terrorism of Roger Waters and BDS
Schuster, the head of the Central Council of Jews, told rbb Inforadio Thursday that Jews in Germany generally feel safe, though security measures need to be evaluated frequently. Schuster says that "hiding is not the right way" of dealing with worries about anti-Semitism.
But he says it's right to ask whether, in areas with high Muslim populations in Berlin and elsewhere, "it really makes sense to identify oneself as a Jew by wearing a kippa, for example, or whether it's better to wear different headgear there."
Security worries among European Jews have been stoked by recent attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, in which Jewish institutions were targeted by Islamic fundamentalists, as well as other deadly attacks in Belgium, France and in the past few years.
Earlier this week, monthly German Jewish magazine Judisches Berlin announced that it would henceforth deliver copies in unmarked envelopes to subscribers.
"The Israelis in Berlin are attacked just for being Israeli Jews," Berlin Jewish leader Gideon Joffe wrote in the newspaper.
"We are not yet at the stage – and I stress that it's not yet – where Jews are murders in Germany only because they are Jews. But steps are being taken to protect the rule of law in German democracy."
Meanwhile, leading European Jewish groups earlier this month slammed the German government for creating a new commission on anti-Semitism without including a single Jewish representative.
Julius Schoeps from the Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies called it "a unique scandal" that the Interior Ministry did not include any Jewish scientists or community leaders on the commission it created to fight anti-Semitism and support Jewish life in Germany.
Anetta Kahane from the Amadeu Antonio Foundation against anti-Semitism says: "Nobody would even think of creating a conference on hatred of Islam without Muslims or a round table on the discrimination of women without women."
They announced the creation of an alternative commission that will stress the Jewish perspective.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.