German lawmakers voted Thursday to appoint a commissioner to coordinate the government fight against anti-Semitism, and to implement tougher laws on anti-Semitism. The measure created the commissioner post to develop and implement a strategy to root out anti-Jewish sentiment and crime as part of a 17-point proposal. The far-right AfD party backed the proposal, according to DW.
The motion, proposed by four of the six parliamentary groups, was approved by a wide majority following a recommendation by a panel of experts. The commissioner is to be chosen by independent experts.
Anti-Semitism is rising in the country and incidents were seen at recent pro-Palestinian Authority demonstrations in Berlin, among other sites.
According to Volker Kauder, parliamentary leader of the Christian Democratic Union parliamentary group linked to Chancellor Angela Merkel, the far-right is behind most of the anti-Semitic crimes that are being carried out in the country – but not all.
An increasing number of anti-Semitic incidents taking place in Germany are being carried out by migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, according to the bill that passed.
“We must not allow either of these things,” Kauder told the parliament during Thursday’s session. He told an interviewer on the breakfast TV show Morgen-Magazin that morning that it was “shameful” that Jewish institutions required police protection, and that Jews are often afraid to go out, and openly identify as Jewish. “That’s something we can’t tolerate in our country,” he said, DW reported.
The center-left Social Democrat lawmakers in the lower house called for the new commissioner to be installed at the office of the chancellor.