Paris-Berlin wedge worries White House
20 November 2003 , DUESSELDORF - The US administration is "concerned" that Germany and France are driving a wedge between Europe and the United States, according to a published report. The report in Handelsblatt newspaper, due to hit newsstands Thursday, quoted a "high-ranking senior official" in the US administration as saying Berlin and Paris have "polarised" Europe with their opposition to the war in Iraq. "Europe has been polarised since January largely because Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has fallen i
20 November 2003
DUESSELDORF - The US administration is "concerned" that Germany and France are driving a wedge between Europe and the United States, according to a published report.
The report in Handelsblatt newspaper, due to hit newsstands Thursday, quoted a "high-ranking senior official" in the US administration as saying Berlin and Paris have "polarised" Europe with their opposition to the war in Iraq.
"Europe has been polarised since January largely because Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has fallen in line firmly behind France's President Jacques Chirac," the official was quoted as saying.
In January, France, Germany and Russia announced their opposition to a US-sponsored UN Security Council resolution which would have authorised use of force against Saddam Hussein.
"Chirac is the driving force in this development," the official told Handelsblatt. "He used the Iraq issue to build up Europe as a pole opposite America," said the official, identified only as "in the immediate circle" of President George W. Bush.
The decision by both France and Germany not to commit significant funds to the reconstruction of Iraq is also "politically motivated", according to the official.
However, he stressed that US-German relations were already strained prior to Schroeder's announcement during the September 2002 general election campaign that he opposed any US-led war against Iraq.
"Over the past three years there has been a shift," the official said of Berlin's attitude toward Washington.
"The basic feeling of good-will towards America that dominated for decades is gone," the official was quoted as saying.
Even so, Bush is hoping for "a good, correct relationship" with Schroeder, he said.
Subject: German news
Calls for action over anti-Semitism poll
20 November 2003
BERLIN - Jewish leaders in Germany issued an urgent appeal for government action after an opinion poll Wednesday showed anti- Semitism is on the rise nationwide and almost a quarter of all Germans are "latent anti-Semites".
Central Council of Jews leader Paul Spiegel said it was imperative that government leaders to step up educational programmes dealing with the Holocaust and the rise of Nazism.
"Federal, state and local governments must be doing much more to break the vicious cycle of word-of-mouth anti-Semitic attitudes which unwittingly are passed from one generation to the next," said Spiegel.
"Constant work is needed to counter these negative stereotypes based on ignorance," he said.
The Stern magazine poll found 23 percent of Germans - up from 20 percent in 1998 - answered a series of questions about Jews in a way which led pollsters to classify them as latently anti-Semitic.
Among questions posed was whether Jews were trying to profit from the Nazi past and seeking to make Germans pay. Some 36 percent of those asked this question responded with "yes".
A total of 28 percent said Jews have too much influence in the world while 61 percent said 58 years after the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich it was time to start talking less about the persecution of the Jews.
The poll carried out by Germany's Forsa agency surveyed 1,301 people last Friday and Saturday.
Germany has one of the world's fastest growing Jewish populations with immigrants coming from the former Soviet Union. The number of German Jews is now over 100,000 - up from about 30,000 in 1989.
This is still a small minority within Germany's total population of 82 million.
Subject: German news