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German government funds research into anti-Semitism and extremism

Published August 04,2021

The German government is to put 35 million euros (42 million dollars) into research into anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism, Research Minister Anja Karliczek said in Berlin on Wednesday.

"Jewish life – unfortunately one has to say this – is threatened in Germany to an extent not seen for a long time," she said. "We need in-depth knowledge to combat racism and anti-Semitism effectively."

The relevant projects refer back in part to guidelines published last year and in part to a Cabinet decision on combating right-wing extremism and racism. They are to be launched over the days ahead.

Karliczek said the funding had been planned and was independent of the outcome of the September parliamentary elections.

One of the aims is to ascertain the form that anti-Semitism takes at schools, while another aims to provide a counter to anti-Semitic content in German aimed at young people on the internet.

For this, expressions of anti-Semitism on social media and how receptive young people are to them will be analysed.

The government's anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein, described hatred of the Jews as "ideological glue" during demonstrations against measures to control the coronavirus pandemic.

"Right-wing extremists are today disseminating their destructive and antidemocratic content through the so-called Querdenken (Lateral Thinking) movement together with previously unremarkable actors from a rather middle-class milieu," he said.

The Querdenken movement has been the driving force behind a series of often violent demonstrations against the pandemic measures. The domestic intelligence services are monitoring those of its members seen as extremists with the aim of destabilizing the German state.