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EU anti-racism body under attack

26 November 2003

VIENNA – The Austrian-based E.U. Monitoring Committee (EUMC) on racism and xenophobia has come under fire for withholding a report on anti-Semitism, said reports on Wednesday.

Facts and analyses put into the report by the internationally- renowned Berlin Institute for Research into anti-Semitism were apparently politically too sensitive for the EUMC and after months of wrangling over details, the 112-page report stayed under lock and key, said reports by the Kurier newspaper and Austria Press Agency.

The affair was originally uncovered by the London Financial Times at the weekend. It said the sensitive point in the report was that anti-Semitism came from Moslem and pro-Palestinian groups in Europe. They were particularly responsible for the rapid rise of anti-Semitic crimes in European countries such as France.

Insiders quoted the report as saying that responsible for nearly all these crimes were young Moslems. They were children of immigrants from Arab countries, faced with exclusion and racism in their new European homes.

In turn they identified themselves with the struggle of the Palestinians, and committed acts of violence against Jewish fellow-citizens and Jewish installations.

EUMC sources were said to have criticized the report concentrating too much on Moslem and pro-Palestinian culprits. They said this could have the effect of stirring up public opinion against them.

Some EUMC officials were also said to disapprove of a section attributing anti-Semitic motives to leftist and anti-globalization groups.

The EUMC was criticized by the Paris-based European Jewish Congress, which said suppressing the report was “unacceptable manipulation”.

In Israel, Berlin anti-Semitism researcher Werner Bergmann was quoted by the Haaretz newspaper as saying the EU had “buried” the report because it “fears conflicts with Moslems in Europe”.

He confirmed that the report blamed anti-Jewish attacks on radical Islamist elements primarily from Algeria and Morocco, backed by leftist-radical opponents of capitalism, globalization and the United States.

He charged that the EUMC had demanded the report be toned down and made “politically correct”.

The report’s publication was also demanded by US congressman Richard Wechsler and European parliamentarian Daniel Cohn-Bendit.

EUMC director Beate Winkler of Germany said the quality of the report had been inadequate. Another spokesmen said the report would be published by next March.

Subject: German news