German President Steinmeier calls for decisive fight against anti-Semitism | News | DW | 10.03.2019
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German President Steinmeier calls for decisive fight against anti-Semitism

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called for a decisive fight against anti-Semitism. He lamented the rise of ant-Semitism in modern society and on the internet.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called for a more decisive fight against anti-Semitism.

"In order to accomplish this, we need state action as well as civil courage," Steinmeier said Sunday in Nuremberg.

At the same time, Steinmeier added, there must be a wider dialogue among people of all religions and atheists: "And together we must fight against all types of anti-Semitism."

Steinmeier delivered his remarks at the opening of the "Week of Brotherhood," which is organized annually by the German Coordinating Council of Societies for Christian-Jewish Cooperation.

Anti-Semitism has not been overcome, Steinmeier said, adding that was the case in Germany as well as in other European nations. As president, he said he felt shame in every single incident of anti-Semitism and said that a clear signal needs to be sent that anti-Semitism is always an attack on [an] entire society and that it "always applies to all of us."

Steinmeier said he was deeply thankful that Jewish life was flourishing once again in Germany. At the same time, however, he also said he was concerned that anti-Semitism was once again becoming socially acceptable. It is showing up on the street, in schoolyards, and in political speeches, as well as manifesting itself as hatred and propaganda on the Internet where anti-Semitic conspiracy theories spread unchecked, he said. Statistics showed anti-Semitic crimes increased by 10 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.

Read more: Israeli ambassador to Germany 'very concerned' by rise in anti-Semitic attacks ​​​​​​

In addition to age-old clichés, a new type of anti-Semitism is also emerging. Steinmeier admitted that this had been brought here by some immigrants from anti-Israeli countries. However, this should not lead to a general suspicion about all immigrants from Muslim countries or Muslims in Germany, Steinmeier cautioned. Anyone who seeks shelter and refuge in Germany and wants to live here must also "adhere to our democratic values and the lessons we have learned from our history in the 20th century," he said.

Andreas Nachama, President of the German Coordinating Council for Societies of Christian-Jewish Cooperation, also lamented an increasing hostility towards Jews. He also noted that there were anti-Muslim sentiments that should be condemned in the same way and called on people to stand up for the fundamental rights of everyone.

Watch video 03:54

Rising anti-Semitism recalls 'horrific past'

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