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Home arrow Press Releases arrow Press Release - German parliament condemns Antisemitism (November 6th, 2008)
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Press Release - German parliament condemns Antisemitism (November 6th, 2008) Print E-mail
On Tuesday the German Parliament approved a resolution to condemn Antisemitism in Germany. Just a week after a dispute between the conservative Christian Democrats and The Left (former East German Socialist Unity Party) prevented the joint adoption of the resolution, a revised draft was adopted by the Christian Democrats, the Social Democrats, the Liberals and the Greens, while an identical text was separately passed by The Left. The Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union had refused to sign a joint resolution with The Left, arguing that the latter had not properly faced up to its antisemitic and anti-Zionist East German past and still has quite a number of antisemites within its ranks.

Petra Pau, Vice-President of the German Bundestag and member of the Left Party, said "that she is very content with the outcome" in a personal conversation with BBI's Adam Mouchtar on Thursday.

The resolution refers to antisemitism a "problem in German society that still demands serious attention" and asks the German government to establish a team of experts which will offer measures to combat antisemitism in the Federal Republic. It also asks the government to continue supporting the growth of Jewish life in Germany and to promote public school education on the subject. Moreover, it recommends on the usage of the ODIHR / FRA (EUMC) Working Definition of Antisemitism by state authorities in their work. Moreover, it calls solidarity with Israel an "unsurrenderable part of German raison d'état", stating that those who burn Israeli flags and chant antisemitic slogans at demonstrations cannot be partners in the fight against antisemitism.

This is a clear reference to various leading members of The Left who in recent years participated in such public rallies. Furthermore, the resolution notes that shows of solidarity with "terrorist and antisemitic groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah" are beyond any legitimate criticism of Israeli policies. However, neither does it call for a ban on these movements, nor for any foreign policy measures against Iran and other propagators of state-sponsored antisemitism in the wider Muslim world, even though the speeches of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his threats to "erase Israel from the map" are in fact mentioned and the problem of "Arab and Islamic
antisemitism" is also more generally identified as "a global danger".

Most importantly, the resolution demands the creation of a commission of academics and functionaries that should be tasked with producing a regular report on antisemitism in Germany and with passing recommendations regarding both the development and the improvement of programs that deal with the problem. It remains to be seen to what extent this body will be ready to also confront "new" forms of antisemitism that have become virulent at the centre of society and among elites. This in turn will depend largely on who will sit on this commission.

Legislators crafting the motion over the past few months wanted to see it approved before ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the pogroms of November 1938 - commonly referred to as "Kristallnacht" (crystal night) – on November 9th.

Meanwhile, the German government released new statistics on antisemitic and right-wing extremist crimes that showed that 800 antisemitic criminal acts were registered in Germany through September and 14.000 right-wing crimes, up from about 8.000 in 2007. Twenty-seven people were injured in anti-Jewish attacks in the first nine months of 2008; in all of 2007 the number was 13. The figures are not yet conclusive due to the fact that some incidents for 2008 may only get reported as late as mid-2009.

Adam Mouchtar,
Director, BBI EU Affairs and Dr Yves Pallade, Director, BBE/F.A.N.
 
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