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German parliament condemns anti-Semitism

Germany’s parliament agreed on a resolution that calls anti-Semitism a “problem in German society that still demands serious attention.”

Four maintstream parties passed the motion, according to media reports. An identical resolution was passed separately by the Left Party, since the mainstream conservative Christian Democratic Union refuses to sign anything with the Left Party.

The resolution asks the German government to establish a team of experts charged with reporting regularly on anti-Semitic crimes and on measures to combat anti-Semitism in Germany. It also asks the government to continue supporting the growth of Jewish life in Germany and to promote public school education on the subject.

It also offers unequivocal support for Israel and identifies as anti-Semites those who burn Israeli flags and chant anti-Semitic slogans at demonstrations.

“Expressions of solidarity with terrorist and anti-Semitic groups like Hamas and Hezbollah go beyond the limits of acceptable criticism of Israeli policy,” the statement reads.

The legislators who crafted the motion over the past few months wanted to see it approved before ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi pogrom against Jews, their property and institutions in the German Reich. The anniversary is Sunday.

Meanwhile, the government released new statistics on anti-Semitic and right-wing extremist crimes that showed 800 anti-Semitic crimes registered in Germany through September and 14,000 right-wing crimes, up from about 8,000 in 2007. Twenty-seven people were injured in anti-Jewish attacks in the first nine months of 2008; in all of 2007 the number was 13.

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