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Germany

Jewish Central Council Calls for Office Against Racism

Though discrimination, racial violence and anti-Semitism have long been crimes in Germany, the country's Central Council of Jews is demanding that more be done to protect minorities.

A ceiling lamp in the main hall of a synagogue at the Rykestrasse in Berlin during renovation works on Aug. 3, 2007

German Jews demand that more be done to protect them from racism

The Central Council of Jews in Germany has called on the German government appoint a commission against discrimination, racism and anti-Semitism. There are currently many different departments at the federal, state and local level deal with the problem.

Stephan J. Kramer, the council's general secretary, told the German daily Hessischen/Niedersächsischen Allgemeinen that there is no effective coordination between the levels of government in the fight against right-wing extremism.

"There needs to finally be a commissary against discrimination, xenophobia and anti-Semitism," Kramer said. "Then perhaps there will be someone who feels responsible."

Many people have no idea what anti-Semitism is, Kramer added, and he said he believes a commissary would help with that.

The former president of the Central Council Ignatz Bubis claimed the best way to avoid anti-Semitism is to get to know a Jew. However Kramer isn't so sure.

"I will admit that the Jewish community isn't always very good at communication, but it isn't just about personal contacts," he said.

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