RESPONSES TO RACISM AND ANTISEMITISM
On 11 December 2003 the German Bundestag unanimously approved a declaration against antisemitic tendencies, which, it stated, were present not only among fringe groups but in the very mainstream of society. The parliament acknowledged its responsibility for keeping alive the memory of the Holocaust, as part of Germany’s national identity. President of the Bundestag Woflgang Thiese (SPD) said that not only the lessons of the past but also the threat of an alliance between extreme right-wing activists and radical Muslims obliged German society to act against antisemitism. The reason for this unusual step by the Federal German Parliament can be seen in the growing acceptance of antisemitic trends, in the rising influence of extreme right-wing parties and their dissemination of antisemitic ideology which has begun to penetrate the mainstream (see Hohmann affair above), and in the rise of violent manifestations against Jews.
Thousands of projects and meetings, sponsored by anti-fascist organizations, churches, government, communes, the media and concerned citizens have been initiated to fight right-wing extremism in Germany (see ASW 2002/3 ). For example:
On 26 June 2003, a symposium, “Against Antisemitism in the Media,” was held in the parliament building, attended by journalists, public figures and members of the federal parliament, who discussed reporting in the written and electronic press on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. There was general agreement that the coverage was one-sided. Sponsors of the symposium were the Moses Mendelsohn Center for European Jewish Studies of Potsdam University, the Social Democrat Studies Forum of Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg, and the Social Democracy cultural forum, “Honestly Concerned,” represented by Sacha Stawski, a media expert on Israel.