New EU an­ti­semitism tsar as re­port tracks rise in hate

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY JC RE­PORTER

FRANS TIM­MER­MANS, a for­mer for­eign min­is­ter of the Nether­lands and the vice-pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, has said he will act as the EU’s first en­voy on an­ti­semitism.

An­nounc­ing his new role, Mr Tim­mer­mans said in a speech to Jewish lead­ers at an EU event in Brus­sels last week: “The im­por­tance we at­tach to fight­ing an­ti­semitism and anti-Mus­lim ha­tred also means that we do not just want to lis­ten to you and your con­cerns to­day.”

Mr Tim­mer­mans, who is re­spon­si­ble for bet­ter reg­u­la­tion, the rule of law and the Char­ter of Fun­da­men­tal Rights, added: “I want to be in di­rect con­trol of this. I will be your en­voy if you want to call it that.”

He con­tin­ued: “New an­ti­semitism… some­times tries to hide be­hind anti-Zion­ism.”

He did not say ex­actly what he would be do­ing as EU en­voy on an­ti­semitism — a post that ex­ists in the Is­raeli and French for­eign min­istries and the US State Depart­ment.

Mr Tim­mer­mans’ an­nounce­ment came one day af­ter the Euro­pean Fun­da­men­tal Rights Agency pub­lished a re­port say­ing that “gross u n d e r - r e p o r t - ing” was mak­ing it hard to doc­u­ment the trend of ris­ing an­ti­semitism in Europe.

The re­port noted that only two EU mem­ber states, Hungary and Swe­den, recorded a de­crease in an­tisemitic in­ci­dents be­tween 2004 and 2014.

Con­stanti­nos Manolopou­los, the agency’s head, warned in the re­port of a “cli­mate of in­tol­er­ance” in Europe and called for “im­me­di­ate and decisive ac­tion to com­bat ex­trem­ist, xeno­pho­bic, and an­tisemitic dis­course and crimes”.

The Coun­cil of Europe’s com­mit­tee on na­tional mi­nori­ties also voiced con­cern last week about mount­ing racism and an­ti­semitism in Ger­many, cit­ing a wave of far-right, anti-Is­lam demon­stra­tions that were at odds with the more re­cent im­age of a coun­try ready to open its doors to hun­dreds of thou­sands of refugees. “There have been wor­ry­ing de­vel­op­ments as re­gards public man­i­fes­ta­tions of racism and xeno­pho­bia,” the coun­cil said in a state­ment.

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

Frans Tim­mer­mans: new role to tackle an­ti­semitism

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