German Politicians Divided over Anti-Semitism
By Charles Hawley
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.
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.
'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."... >>>>