EU adopts mea­sures against an­tisemitism

Lauder and Kan­tor thank Se­bas­tian Kurz for ini­tia­tive

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • Jerusalem Post Staff

A dec­la­ra­tion ap­proved Thurs­day by the Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union calls on EU mem­ber states to take steps to en­sure se­cu­rity for Jewish com­mu­ni­ties, in­sti­tu­tions and ci­ti­zens.

The dec­la­ra­tion, agreed on by in­te­rior min­is­ters from the 28 EU mem­ber states, em­pha­sizes the im­por­tance of Holo­caust com­mem­o­ra­tion and ed­u­ca­tion; calls on all EU mem­ber states which have not al­ready done so to en­dorse the In­ter­na­tional Holo­caust Re­mem­brance Al­liance’s work­ing def­i­ni­tion of an­tisemitism in the fields of law en­force­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing; and calls on the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and Europol to pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to on­line an­tisemitism and to con­tent ad­vo­cat­ing an­tisemitic ter­ror­ist of­fenses.

The dec­la­ra­tion was put on the agenda and pro­moted by Aus­tria’s Chan­cel­lor Se­bas­tian Kurz, whose coun­try holds the ro­tat­ing pres­i­dency of the Euro­pean Coun­cil.

Vice pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Frans Tim­mer­mans, a mem­ber of the Dutch Labour Party, said that the dec­la­ra­tion would lead to de­vel­op­ment of a com­mon se­cu­rity ap­proach to bet­ter pro­tect Jewish com­mu­ni­ties and in­sti­tu­tions.

“In times of grow­ing an­tisemitic ha­tred, the unan­i­mous adop­tion of the dec­la­ra­tion on the fight against an­tisemitism by the 28 EU mem­ber states sends an im­por­tant sig­nal to the Jewish com­mu­nity; the EU and each of its mem­ber states stand by their side to guar­an­tee their safety and well-be­ing. We will com­bine our ef­forts at the Euro­pean and na­tional level to en­sure that Jewish Euro­peans can build a com­mon fu­ture for them­selves and their chil­dren in Europe, to­gether with all Euro­peans,” he said in a joint state­ment is­sued with Euro­pean Com­mis­sioner for Jus­tice Vera Jourova.

“This dec­la­ra­tion in­vites mem­ber states and the com­mis­sion to take con­crete steps to bet­ter pro­tect the Jewish com­mu­nity in Europe and to con­tinue their fight against an­tisemitism. We can­not have a com­mon fight with­out a com­mon def­i­ni­tion of what we are fight­ing against. Mem­ber states are called to use the In­ter­na­tional Holo­caust Re­mem­brance Al­liance’s def­i­ni­tion of an­tisemitism as a guid­ance tool, which would be an im­por­tant step in the fight against an­tisemitism.”

The World Jewish Congress wel­comed the adop­tion of a dec­la­ra­tion, em­pha­siz­ing that it had worked closely with the Aus­trian Jewish Com­mu­nity and the Euro­pean Jewish Congress, in de­vel­op­ing the dec­la­ra­tion’s con­tent.

“I strongly wel­come the de­ci­sion by the Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union to adopt this im­por­tant dec­la­ra­tion on the fight against an­tisemitism and the pro­tec­tion of Jewish com­mu­ni­ties,” said WJC pres­i­dent Ronald S. Lauder.

“Just days after polling re­vealed that an­tisemitism con­tin­ues to haunt Europe, and with the mem­ory of the Holo­caust fad­ing, this dec­la­ra­tion is a clear recog­ni­tion by the govern­ments of all EU mem­ber states that se­ri­ous ac­tion, both po­lit­i­cally and prac­ti­cally, is needed to deal with the clear and spe­cific chal­lenges posed by this an­cient ha­tred. We look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to en­gage with both the EU in­sti­tu­tions and the govern­ments of the EU mem­ber states to in­form this se­ri­ous work go­ing for­ward.

“I would also like to take this op­por­tu­nity to thank Aus­trian Chan­cel­lor Se­bas­tian Kurz for the lead­er­ship he has shown on this is­sue – this dec­la­ra­tion will serve as an im­por­tant point of ref­er­ence in the years to come. I hope that the Euro­pean Coun­cil will now also ap­point a co­or­di­na­tor on com­bat­ing an­tisemitism, to fol­low up on this im­por­tant first step. Jewish ci­ti­zens of Europe have the right to the same sense of se­cu­rity and well-be­ing as any other Euro­pean ci­ti­zens.”

The Euro­pean Jewish Congress also praised what they called a “his­toric dec­la­ra­tion on the fight against an­tisemitism.”

“This is an un­prece­dented dec­la­ra­tion, which was one of the pri­or­i­ties of the Aus­trian pres­i­dency. The EJC is very proud of its con­tri­bu­tion, both from the EJC of­fice and from its af­fil­i­ated Jewish com­mu­ni­ties across the EU, work­ing closely and ac­tively with all of the stake­hold­ers and de­ci­sion mak­ers in­volved in this to en­sure that this his­toric op­por­tu­nity came to fruition,” said EJC pres­i­dent Dr. Moshe Kan­tor.

“This dec­la­ra­tion is an im­por­tant step in the fight against an­tisemitism be­cause it pro­vides a pos­i­tive and con­crete roadmap for the safe­guard­ing of Jewish com­mu­ni­ties and strength­ens the leg­isla­tive tools for govern­ments to fight hate and in­tol­er­ance.

Now we hope that each EU mem­ber state will take the re­quired and ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion, and that the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment will mon­i­tor the progress made by each state against an­tisemitism.”

“We would like to thank Chan­cel­lor Kurz, with whom we have worked closely in the last few months, and all the Euro­pean lead­ers and of­fi­cials who as­sisted with this vi­tal process,” Kan­tor con­tin­ued.

“One of the most ur­gent calls for ac­tion in the dec­la­ra­tion, is to adopt the IHRA def­i­ni­tion of an­tisemitism to as­sist law en­force­ment agen­cies in their ef­forts to iden­tify and in­ves­ti­gate more ef­fi­ciently an­tisemitic man­i­fes­ta­tions in all their forms.”

(Abir Sul­tan/Reuters)

AUS­TRIAN CHAN­CEL­LOR Se­bas­tian Kurz vis­its Yad Vashem in June.

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