Merkel: Anti-Semitism in Germany More Widespread Than We Thought

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes an address during an anti-Semitism demo at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate September 14, 2014.Credit: Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says anti-Semitism is "more widespread" in Germany than some believe and that action is needed to "deal with it - especially among young people from countries where hatred of Israel and the hatred of Jews is widespread."

Merkel said on her weekly podcast that anti-Semitism is more "widespread than we imagine, and that's why we have to make intensive efforts against it," noting the negative effects of anti-Semitic propaganda online and attempts to combat it.

Merkel is scheduled to inaugurate an exhibition called "Art from the Holocaust" in Berlin on Monday to commemorate 50 years of German-Israeli relations. 

Merkel quoted claims made by Josef Schuster, who heads the Central Council of Jews in Germany and said last November that the a large portion of the asylum seekers entering Germany "have grown up in an environment in which hostility towards Israel and anti-Semitism are a common practice."

Merkel echoed the claim, saying "we have to deal with it - especially among young people, with a family background from countries where hatred of Israel and the hatred of Jews is becoming widespread." Germany attracted 1.1 million asylum seekers last year.

She said a shift was needed in Holocaust education in Germany, instead of focusing on Jewish victimhood "we need show people what the contribution of Jews in Germany to science, culture and social and economic development."

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