Europeans must be resolute in curbing anti-Semitism, said German Bundestag President Norbert Lammert in an address to Knesset marking 50 years of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel.
After a few tentative lines in Hebrew, Lammert switched to German and said, “It is a great privilege, and also a pleasure, to speak to the representatives of Israel, home to Jews from all over the world, here in the Knesset, the beating heart of a strong democratic state, an open and free society, and the only functioning democracy in the Middle East.”
Calling his nation’s diplomatic ties with Israel “one of history’s miracles,” Lammert said “We are especially grateful, too, that after the traumatic experiences of National Socialist dictatorship and the Holocaust, Jewish life has once again resumed in Germany,” which he referred to as a “second democracy.”
Next year the Interparliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism will hold its conference in Berlin, Lammert said. “We recognize that nowhere in the world has anti-Semitism had more devastating consequences than in Germany.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told Lammert, “Your standing at our side and at the side of the Jewish people is more important than ever, certainly now when there is a harsh struggle around the world against anti-Semitism and its new form: anti-Israeliness.”
Lammert visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem during his visit to the holy city. But one wonders how aware this German official is about the utter lack of interest in anything to do with anti-Semitism in his country.
The Facebook page for the Interparliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism has only one post since January relating to Germany. That is an announcement to say the German government “reinstated the Experts’ Commission on Antisemitism upon the request of the Parliament, in a motion supported by all parties.” (Not that any others were none better, with just one post each from the U.S., France and UK.)
Reader, were you aware the commission had been de-commissioned in Germany? No? What a surprise.
According to a new survey conducted on behalf of the European Jewish Association, however, only one in every four Germans even believes the European Union must do more to wipe out anti-Semitism.
Germans More Worried About Rising Islamophobia
Most Germans are far more worried about the rise of Islamophobia, according to the survey, released Wednesday, and 39 percent believe current measures being taken against anti-Semitism are sufficient. Moreover, 15 percent of Germans believe there is a need to reduce the activity on the subject.
EJA Director Rabbi Menachem Margolin called the findings “an educational failure in implementing the lessons of the Holocaust” and warned, “The German public is simply unaware of the rising tide of attacks motivated by anti-Semitism.”
The survey was conducted June 16-18 via the web panel of the European Research Institute YouGov, among a representative sample (1991) of the adult population, age 18+ in Germany.
Of the top ten challenges facing the European continent, 53 percent of respondents ranked “immigration” first; 44 percent ranked “environment” second; the third most important to the average German was “terrorism” at 42 percent. Anti-Muslim bigotry was ranked eighth at 15 percent; anti-Semitism came in ninth at half that figure.
Earlier this year, a German judge decided that three German Palestinians who were convicted of arson after hurling firebombs at a synagogue in Germany were motivated by trying to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict,” Jerusalem Post journalist Benjamin Weinthal reported in February.
The judge in the case did not believe the men were guilty of anti-Semitism, according to outraged Green Party deputy Volker Beck, who told media he wrote to the prosecutor in the case to file a legal objection.Hana Levi Julian