Germany adds Jews to anti-Semitism panel after criticism
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Germany adds Jews to anti-Semitism panel after criticism

Original commission had no Jewish members; now, director of anti-xenophobia group and head of museum that documents Nazi-era crimes to serve

German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers her speech at a rally against anti-Semitism near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, September 14, 2014.  (AP/Markus Schreiber)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers her speech at a rally against anti-Semitism near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, September 14, 2014. (AP/Markus Schreiber)

BERLIN — Germany’s Interior Ministry says it has appointed two Jews to a new commission on anti-Semitism in response to criticism that there were none among the original eight experts chosen.

The ministry said Thursday that Marina Chernivsky, of a Berlin-based organization that fights anti-Semitism and xenophobia, and Andreas Nachama, director of the Topography of Terror museum in the capital that documents Nazi-era crimes, would both join the commission.

When created earlier this year, the commission drew widespread criticism for not including any Jews; the Interior Ministry responded that the religious affiliation of the experts hadn’t been a criterion in the selection process.

The commission will investigate anti-Semitism in Germany over the next two years and present its findings to Parliament as a basis for a discussion on how to tackle the problem.

Jewish leaders criticized the lack of inclusion of Jews on the original committee at the time. Julius Schoeps from the Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies called it “a unique scandal” in February, and Anetta Kahane from the Amadeu Antonio Foundation said that “nobody would even think of creating a conference on hatred of Islam without Muslims or a round table on the discrimination of women without women.”

This was the second time the government installed a commission to deal with anti-Semitism. Some Jewish leaders criticized the earlier commission’s report, released in 2011, as having failed to bring about changes in the condition of Germany’s Jews.

Germany has seen an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in recent years, intensifying during the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza last year.

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