January 9, 2016
By Marcus Dysch, January 6, 2016
German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to address a major international conference against antisemitism, it has been announced.
The conference will be co-hosted by the German government in Berlin in March.
Mrs Merkel’s intention to speak about Jew hatred was unveiled by Bundestag vice-president Petra Pau during a visit to London this week.
The event will be co-ordinated by the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combatting Antisemitism (ICCA).
Ms Pau met Commons deputy speaker Natascha Engel MP on Wednesday and said: “Germany, like all countries, is still not immune from antisemitism and so we cannot underestimate the importance of working together against this pernicious racism.”
The ICCA was co-founded by Labour MP John Mann, who is chair of Britain’s All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism. It held an inaugural conference in London in February 2009, leading to the London Declaration on Combatting Antisemitism signed by hundreds of politicians from around the world and a second conference in Ottawa, Canada.
The Berlin conference will include parliamentarians discussing the methods for tackling Jew hatred which have been successful in their countries, and co-ordinating plans to take home to their legislators.
Mr Mann said: “This is a significant step in our efforts to ensure joined-up thinking from parliaments across the globe. The internet and antisemitic-inspired terrorism are just two examples of worldwide phenomenon which require an international response.
“I am also delighted Mrs Merkel has agreed to address the conference. It shows that we have the attention and commitment of world leaders to act and it puts perpetrators of antisemitism on notice that the world is watching and will not stand idly by whilst anti-Jewish hatred is on the rise.”
Ms Pau’s visit to London showed how seriously the issue was being taken, Mr Mann said.
Justice Secretary Michael Gove will represent the British government at the conference.