Berlin: antisemitism 'mainstream'

By Toby Axelrod, November 17, 2011
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Germany urgently needs to focus on fighting antisemitism in "dominant" sections of society, according to a government report.

The report, delivered to the Bundestag last week, showed that while far-right, far-left and Islamist extremists are responsible for the majority of Jew-hatred, there is a deeper layer of antisemitism simmering in the country at large.

The report emphasised anecdotal evidence of antisemitic attitudes in classrooms, in the media and in political and religious associations.

In addition, the report found that 20 per cent of Germans continue to hold strongly antisemitic views.

But while many sources of the racism are known, its effects remain unclear, said Juliane Wetzel of the Centre for Research on Antisemitism, who helped produce the report.

There still is not enough data on how best to fight antisemitic attitudes in mainstream German society, said Ms Wetzel.

The report came amid news of an arrest this weekend in Hamburg of a suspect in a series of notorious hate crimes against immigrants, and revelations about a neo-Nazi terrorist group that has operated largely unchecked since 2000.

Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said there was an urgent need to ban Germany's biggest neo-Nazi party, the National Democratic Party of Germany, whose membership is estimated at 7,000.

Last updated: 12:47pm, November 17 2011