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World IN BRIEF / SWITZERLAND

Ex-Leader Warns of Rising Anti-Semitism

March 19, 2000|From Times Wire Reports

Ruth Dreifuss, who served last year as Switzerland's first Jewish or woman president, warned in a newspaper interview against a "creeping acceptance" of anti-Semitism in the country. Dreifuss, a Social Democrat who held the rotating presidency last year, said a survey that found anti-Semitic tendencies in a major nationalist party was cause for concern, according to the Tages-Anzeiger. The U.S.-sponsored survey, released Wednesday, indicated that many Swiss reject anti-Semitism. But it also showed that one-third of the Swiss People's Party's voters think in an anti-Semitic way. If the survey is correct, Dreifuss said, the party leadership faces a great responsibility. The Swiss People's Party has opposed closer ties to the European Union and called for curbs on immigration. The survey, sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, found that 16% of the Swiss population holds anti-Semitic views.

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