Πέμπτη, 23 Οκτωβρίου 2008

German Politicians Divided over Anti-Semitism ( Spiegel On Line)

German Politicians Divided over Anti-Semitism
By Charles Hawley
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,586068,00.html
The German parliament wanted to pass a unanimous resolution against anti-Semitism to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Night of the Broken Glass.
But the effort has become a victim of political bickering. On Sept. 29, it was Berlin's turn. Just one week after the Jewish cemetery in the city's central Mitte district was reopened following renovation work, an information plaque was daubed with anti-Semitic slogans. An investigation was immediately begun to try and find the perpetrators, but little progress has been made.
It is the same story across the country. On average, according to statistics cited by members of the federal parliament, one Jewish cemetery each week is vandalized in Germany. Last week in Potsdam, a mini-sidewalk monument to a Jewish family deported during the Holocaust was smeared with a swastika. Two weeks ago in the eastern German town of Jena, anti-Semitic chants were sung at a regional league football match. The list ( in German) goes on.
Potentially more damning, however, is the fact that anti-Semitism in the country appears to be on the rise. A number of studies in recent years have reached the conclusion that anti-Semitism is not just a fringe problem in Germany. A September study released by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. came to the conclusion that fully 25 percent of Germans had unfavorable views of Jews. While that is far less than the 46 percent result in Spain or the 36 percent in Poland, it is up from the 20 percent result found in Germany in 2004.

German politicians are listening. Indeed, since the beginning of the year, a working group made up of all parties in the German parliament, the Bundestag, have been busy formulating a resolution condemning anti-Semitism in Germany. The idea was to have it ready for the 70th anniversary of the Nov. 9, 1938 Nazi pogrom known as the Night of the Broken Glass. Political infighting, however, has delayed the project -- and now threatens to torpedo it altogether.
'A Political Fiasco'
"I still have high hopes that we will be able to find a common language for the resolution, but it unfortunately won't be until after the 70th anniversary," Gert Weisskirchen, a Social Democratic (SPD) parliamentarian who helped initiate the project, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "This awful development (of rising anti-Semitism) demands that we approach it with the appropriate dignity. We can't let it descend into a political fiasco."
For the moment, however, all signs point to exactly that happening. The initiative got started at the very beginning of this year, and Weisskirchen said that until recently, the parties involved -- SPD, Christian Democrats along with their sister party the Christian Social Union (known collectively as the Union), the Free Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party -- were all on the same page.
Not long ago, however, the Union submitted text to be included in the resolution referring to anti-Semitism in pre-reunification East Germany. The passage reads that "it must be recalled that Israel was never recognized by East Germany, that Jewish businesspeople were dispossessed by the East German government and had to flee, and that East Germany broke international law by delivering weapons to an anti-Israeli Syria in 1973."... >>>>

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