German Parliament Passes Anti-Semitism Measure

Bundestag Vote Vows To Support Jewish Life

By Don Snyder

Published June 13, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The German Bundestag today approved a resolution vowing to combat anti-Semitism and support Jewish life in Germany, and to deepen the country’s special relationship with Israel.

The resolution, which passed by an overwhelming margin in a voice vote during a poorly attended session, signaled the government’s recognition of anti-Semitism’s continued existence in the country responsible for the Holocaust.

According to a government-sponsored study presented to the Bundestag in January 2012, 20% of Germans harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.

The most active anti-Semites come from the extreme right, according to the resolution. While noting that Muslim members of Hamas and Hezbollah foment anti-Semitism through attacks on Israel that go well beyond legitimate criticism, the resolution fails to recommend initiatives to combat Muslim extremists.

The resolution, which specifically condemns Israel-related anti-Semitism, stresses the critical importance of education in counteracting prejudice against Jews. It calls for better education in schools and other institutions, including improved teaching about the Holocaust, expansion of existing curricula on Jewish life and German-Jewish relations, and expanded cooperation with Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, a volunteer organization that gives support to Holocaust survivors.

“Education, education,” emphasized Bundestag member Gitta Connemann, a member of the Christian Democratic Union, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s majority party, during the floor debate that preceded the vote. Speaking with firm conviction, she said that German children must not just learn about the dead, but must also learn about all aspects Jewish life in Germany today

Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee’s office in Berlin, hailed the resolution as “a welcome public acknowledgement of the importance of fighting anti-Semitism in all forms, including anti-Zionism.”

Berger, whom several of the lawmakers thanked for her role in shaping the resolution, stressed that it remained for the government to now implement the educational measures it outlined, including programs on Jewish life, Jewish history and Holocaust education.

According to Berger, the resolution sets up a framework of annual reporting by the government to the parliament on measures to combat anti-Semitism, which, she said, will mean “more government accountability” on the implementation of those measures.

Skeptics praised the resolution’s goals, but did not see it as an action plan.

“I am not particularly optimistic,” said Emmanuel Nahshon, Israel’s deputy chief of mission at the Israeli embassy in Berlin, when asked his view of the resolution’s potential to have an immediate impact.

Gert Weisskirchen, a 68-year-old retired Bundestag member and tireless opponent of anti-Semitism, also doubted the effectiveness of the measure.

“The words are meaningful,” he said. “But the deeds are not impressive.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.