Lawmakers gather in Germany to discuss anti-Semitism

More than 100 parliamentarians from nearly 40 countries are meeting at the Bundestag in Berlin for the third annual conference of the Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism.

“We all have to do our part,” says Michael O’Flaherty, director of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency.

On the table are the challenges of Internet hate, community relations and anti-Semitism in sport, as well as legal, parliamentary and governmental responses to anti-Semitism. Best practices for combating anti-Semitism are being discussed at the three-day conference which started on Sunday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to address the conference attendees on Monday.

The Reichtag building which hosts Germany's parliament Bundestag is reflected in a puddle on a rainy autumn day in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. (photo credit: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
The Reichtag building which hosts Germany’s parliament Bundestag is reflected in a puddle on a rainy autumn day in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. (photo credit: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

In Berlin alone, the latest statistics from the Research and Information on Anti-Semitism organization showed that there were 34 percent more anti-Semitic incidents in 2015 than in the previous year.

Most anti-Semitic crimes are attributable to far-right perpetrators, but there is increasing concern about attitudes that new refugees have brought with them.

These attitudes “must be put on the table” as part of the integration process, Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in
Germany, tells the Protestant Press Service in advance of the conference, hosted by the Bundestag.

In remarks to the attendees, Bundestag President Norbert Lammert says that “there is a link” between the newcomers and anti-Semitism, though one cannot assume that all refugees share these views. “They were probably told that Israel was still the villain of the world,” he says. Their integration will involve “accepting Israel’s right to exist,” he adds.

— JTA

Most Popular