Foreign Minister Vows Germany Will Lead Fight to Defend
Jews and Israel Against Rising Anti-Semitism
New York, NY, November 1, 2002 … Invoking the destruction of European Jewry during the Holocaust, the Foreign Minister of Germany, Joschka Fischer, today vowed that his nation would stand as a leader in the fight against rising global anti-Semitism, while continuing its "wholehearted commitment" to the security and permanence of Israel.
"The origins and identity of the democratic Germany can only be understood against the background of my country's responsibility for the Holocaust," Foreign Minister Fischer told the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Conference on Global Anti-Semitism, a gathering of world Jewish leaders, diplomats and U.N. consular officials in New York City. "Remembering this crime against humanity and resulting obligations will continue to determine German policy in the future as well."
"This historical experience means that we are firmly committed to countering every kind of anti-Semitism, every kind of racism and xenophobia," the Foreign Minister said. "For this Germany bears a great historic and moral responsibility, which we must always strive to meet."
Mr. Fischer's address was the culmination of a two-day conference convened by ADL to develop strategies to combat the rising global anti-Semitism that has led to attacks on Jewish communities in Europe and elsewhere, with synagogue burnings, desecration of cemeteries, threats, and acts of harassment and intimidation against Jews.
Germany is not immune to attacks against its Jews, Mr. Fischer said. He remains troubled by the anti-Semitism that has threatened the renascent Jewish population of Germany, where all Jewish institutions remain under permanent police protection as a result of recent violent attacks.
"I cannot and will not hide the fact that anti-Semitic incidents repeatedly take place in Germany," Mr. Fischer said. "But the response of government and the courts to anti-Semitism or even criminal offenses with an anti-Semitic background is clear and unambiguous. Never again will we permit even initial signs of excluding and persecuting a section of the population on the grounds of its religion, color or origin."
Germany has a "moral responsibility" to fight anti-Semitism wherever it appears, which is why Germany's commitment to Israel's security remains steadfast. "This wholehearted commitment to Israel is a key parameter of German foreign policy," Mr. Fischer said. "It is not negotiable and forms the basis of the special relationship between Germany and Israel."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.