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German anti-Semitism panel has first meeting

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BERLIN (JTA) — Germany’s newly convened panel of experts on anti-Semitism met for the first time.

At Wednesday’s meeting, panel members received a packet of background documents that included federal and police statistics on anti-Semitic crimes and descriptions of current programs, as well as a working definition of anti-Semitism that has been adopted at the European Union level.

The independent and unpaid panel of 10 scholars and educators will analyze the gamut of anti-Semitism in Germany and make practical recommendations on how to combat the problem. It was assembled in August by order of the German Bundestag, with backing from the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

The panel is expected to produce a comprehensive report within the next legislative period, or a year and a half,  a source close to the group told JTA. The report will cover a broad range of topics, including classic neo-Nazi anti-Semitism and newer forms of anti-Semitism among Germany’s sizable Muslim population, as well as general anti-Zionist, racist and so-called "secondary" anti-Semitism — a mostly German-specific phenomenon in which Jews are resented because of the guilt feelings they engender.

A spokesperson for the panel will be elected at the next meeting, scheduled for early November, the source said.

 

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