Germany’s foreign minister has told a meeting of the World Jewish Congress to condemn all forms of anti-Semitism. Guido Westerwelle said that such hatred was not in keeping with the values that the EU was founded upon.
Speaking to World Jewish Congress delegates in Budapest on Monday, Foreign Minister Westerwelle called people all over Europe to raise their voices against anti-Semitism wherever it may be found.
Combating anti-Semitism he said, also meant tackling the issue in its most subtle forms.
"This battle is also being waged to safeguard our common values, to safeguard democracy, human rights and human dignity," the foreign minister said
"Anti-Semitism has no place in Berlin or Budapest or anywhere else in Europe or the rest of the world," Westerwelle said.
The foreign minister also highlighted his country's particular duty to ensure that the crimes of the Holocaust, which he described as a "dark chapter in German history," are never forgotten.
Westerwelle's comments were met with applause from the approximately 600 delegates at the conference.
Concern over anti-Semitic incidents
The 14th edition of the World Jewish Congress is being held in Budapest to highlight the problem of a rise in anti-Semitic incidents reported in Hungary recent years.
Pointing to the popularity of the far-right Jobbik party, which holds the third-most seats in Hungary's parliament, Dieter Graumann, the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, spoke of "an aggressive anti-Semitic sentiment that is currently being spread throughout the country."
Graumann, who was elected at the meeting as one of the World Jewish Congress' vice presidents, stressed that "we will not be intimidated in any way and stand steadfastly side-by-side with Hungarian Jews."
Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Westerwelle held talks with Hungary's conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
In view of a march held by Jobbik supporters on Saturday, Westerwelle spoke of "undesirable developments" in the country. Speaking to reporters following his meeting with Orban, Westerwelle also stressed the need to keep the lines of communication with Budapest open, saying the fact that he had known Orban personally the past 20 years made it possible for him to be frank in their discussions.
Prime Minister Orban had addressed the conference on Sunday, in which he also condemned anti-Semitism. His speech was met with some applause, but other delegates accused him of playing down the problem in his country.
pfd/ccp (dpa, KNA, EPD)