The American Jewish Committee praised the German Parliament on Thursday for passing by an overwhelming majority a resolution on combating anti-Semitism.
“We trust the German federal and state governments will create an immediate action plan to implement the educational and security measures mandated by parliament to fight anti-Semitism,” said Deidre Berger, Director of the AJC Berlin Ramer Institute.
The resolution establishes a framework of annual reporting by the government to parliament on measures to combat anti-Semitism. It creates more government accountability regarding implementation of appropriate measures and calls for the institution of long-term programs, rather than short-term model programs that are often dropped due to lack of funds for implementation.
“The resolution highlights the problem of an anti-Israeli animus,” said Berger. “Exaggerated hatred of Israel is often a new form of anti-Semitism. Importantly, the resolution also recognizes that criticism of Israel that oversteps boundaries is anti-Semitism.”
The resolution cites the recommendations of a 2011 government-commissioned report on anti-Semitism prepared by an independent committee of experts. The report documented a 15 to 20 percent level of latent and overt anti-Semitism in Germany. The German Parliament came under increased pressure by a number of Jewish organizations to act on the committee’s recommendations after Rabbi Daniel Alter was assaulted in Berlin on August 27, 2012.
Earlier this week, release of the 2012 government report on extremism showed an increase in supporters of Islamic terrorist groups.
The parliament resolution also proposes larger-scale programs to anchor knowledge of contemporary Jewish life and Holocaust remembrance, calling for a significant increase of German volunteers working with Holocaust survivors in a program sponsored by the German church-based organization Action Reconciliation.
“Each day fewer and fewer survivors are left,” said Berger. “When, if not now, will young people have a last opportunity to engage in direct interaction with Holocaust survivors? Time is running out for such programs.”