German FM blasts 'new anti-Semitism' clothed in anti-Israel sentiments

In an eloquent address that was translated into English, the German foreign minister said he was concerned by a new form of anti-Semitism.

A new form of anti-Semitism increasingly cloaked by expressions of moral superiority and anti-Israel statements is unacceptable and will not be allowed to permeate German society, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said here on Tuesday. "We will not tolerate anti-Semitism in any shape or form, even in some obscure guise," Steinmeier said at a ceremony at the German Foreign Ministry marking the establishment of the offices of a new Holocaust-awareness organization. In an eloquent address that was translated into English, the German foreign minister said he was more concerned by a new form of anti-Semitism "increasingly cloaked in moral superiority" and anti-Israel remarks than by the "depressing" persistence of the traditional form of anti-Semitism both in Europe generally and in Germany. "We will not allow [the] Islamists' [viewpoint] to be carried into a society that has a special responsibility toward the State of Israel and its right to exist," Steinmeier said. "This poisons the social climate and undermines the foundations on which our society exists." The gala event attended by several hundred people marked the inauguration of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education Remembrance and Research, an organization of 25 countries. Steinmeier stressed that Holocaust denial by Iran - which he said must be utterly rejected with moral clarity - was intended both to diminish the significance of the Holocaust and to undermine Israel's right to exist. "We see how much the center of evil from 1939-1945 has changed and is now a center of tolerance," said Prof. Andreas Nachama, managing director of Berlin's Topography of Terror Foundation. Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev said, "Holocaust fatigue" was not a result of an overdose in Holocaust education, but was due to the way the Holocaust was being taught to youngsters. It is imperative to find a way to ensure the Holocaust does not become "just another chapter" in history, he said. Shalev spoke a day after the head of the German delegation to the organization, Dr. Benedikt Haller, said that some German youths were experiencing "Holocaust fatigue." "What unites us all is the responsibility and the commitment to work for a meaningful culture of remembrance," Shalev said. "We are divided by guilt. Let not suffering divide us too," Steinmeier said.