German parliament fails to condemn anti-Semitism

Party politics doomed a resolution in the German parliament that condemned anti-Semitism.

The resolution, meant to mark the 70th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom against Jews and their property in Germany and Austria, would have been the latest in a series of resolutions against anti-Semitism passed by the Bundestag in recent years.

But a multi-party working group was unable to agree on the wording of the resolution. Lawmaker Gert Weisskirchen of the Social Democratic Party told der Spiegel Online magazine that rising anti-Semitism required a unified approach.

"We can’t let it descend into a political fiasco," he said, adding that the resolution may well require more debate.

The right-conservative and left-wing parties long have been reluctant to agree on such issues.

Problems reportedly arose with the resolution when the Christian Democratic Union and its sister party from Bavaria, the Christian Social Union, tried to insert text specifically delineating examples of  anti-Semitism in the former communist East Germany, stating among other things that Jewish businesses were forcibly shut down and their owners had to flee.

Petra Pau, the Bundestag’s top representative from the Left Party, said her party opposed the wording of the passage, but not the concept of a statement condemning anti-Semitism in former East Germany.

The Social Democrats and Christian Social Union issued a statement saying they did not want the Left Party included in the resolution because its predecessor party in East Germany did not recognize Israel and actively worked with terrorist groups opposed to Israel’s existence.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany on Oct. 22 urged the parties to unite in condemnation of anti-Semitism. Its general secretary, Stephan Kramer, told the Netzeitung agency that the opportunity should "not be wasted thoughtlessly by political campaign bickering or personal debates."

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