Deidre Berger will discuss terrorism, immigration and anti-Semitism on behalf of the American Jewish Committee's Berlin Office.
With terrorism on the rise in Europe, so is anti-Semitism.
Deidre Berger will address those issues and others during her talk, “Europe Today: An Insider’s Perspective on Anti-Semitism, Immigration and Terrorism,” hosted by the American Jewish Committee on Dec. 16 at the Center City law firm of Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP.
Although she attended Bryn Mawr College, she hasn’t been back to Philadelphia since she moved to Berlin in 2000 to serve as the director of the AJC Berlin Office and the Lawrence and Lee Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations.
Working in Europe has given Berger a Eurocentric perspective on the recent events relating to terrorism, refugees, the tension between Ukraine and Russia, issues in the Middle East, European attitudes toward the Iran Deal, and relations between Israel and the European Union — all of which she will discuss in her talk.
There’s also an additional concern for the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, she said. “Jewish communities are often at the forefront of the threat.”
Berger added that Philadelphians can relate to this discussion because “there’s a transatlantic alliance that is really under a threat at the moment.” In her estimation, the dialogue on these common interests needs to intensify in order to strengthen the American link to Europe.
As the Jewish population in Germany continues to grow — there are now roughly 200,000 Jews in the country — Berger said issues of anti-Semitism thrive as well.
“There is a flourishing Jewish life in Germany, and it’s becoming a stronger community with more active organized Jewish structures at a time when many Jews are leaving France,” she added.
Marcia Bronstein, regional director of AJC Philadelphia/ Southern New Jersey Regional Office, said Berger will provide valuable insight because she not only works on issues in Germany but also works directly with refugees in countries like Turkey.
“When you have a person who’s on the ground in Europe dealing with all the issues that we’re all concerned about, and you hear from a firsthand perspective, it really makes everything much more real,” she said.
She added that they have been working on another campaign called Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism in which 47 mayors of American cities, representing close to 90 million people, signed letters condemning anti-Semitism. The campaign has gone global, reaching out to European mayors.
Bronstein said Mayor Peter Feldmann, the Jewish mayor of Frankfurt, for example, was in Philadelphia a few weeks ago and will be joining the campaign. Berger will follow up with him in Germany.
Bronstein hopes people will grasp a stronger understanding of what the issues are.
They might already have a broader understanding, but “they’re going to feel it in their hearts and souls when you hear someone’s firsthand perspective.”
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