Amsterdam summit demands Europe address ‘existential threat to Jewish lives’

Jewish leaders call for “establishment of online mechanism for reporting ongoing harassment and antisemitic threats.”

Jewish leaders approve the motion by show of hands at the European Jewish Association's emergency summit on antisemitism in Amsterdam, June 4, 2024. Photo by Yoav Dudkevitch.
Jewish leaders approve the motion by show of hands at the European Jewish Association's emergency summit on antisemitism in Amsterdam, June 4, 2024. Photo by Yoav Dudkevitch.

One hundred Jewish leaders approved a resolution on Tuesday demanding European decision-makers address the “record rise in antisemitism and the associated existential threat to Jewish lives in Europe.”

The motion passed at the European Jewish Association’s “emergency summit” in Amsterdam aims to counter a surge of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiment in Europe.

Among the practical aspects of the resolution is a call for “the immediate establishment by European governments of an online mechanism for reporting ongoing harassment of Jews and antisemitic threats and that this reporting mechanism be directly linked to law enforcement agencies to enable rapid response.”

The decision also urges “comprehensive police training to boost identifying antisemitism, dealing with antisemitism and arresting those who perpetrate antisemitic acts,” and for “police departments to adopt a zero-tolerance attitude towards violent and/or intimidatory protests and zero-tolerance for terrorist organization banners, flags or insignia.”

European Jewish Association Menachem Margolin addresses the EJA’s conference in Amsterdam, June 3, 2024. Photo by Yoav Dudkevitch.

Pascal Markowicz, a member of the board of directors of CRIF, which represents the Jewish community in France, told JNS that the goal of the conference was to devise practical mechanisms to ensure the safety of European Jewry.

“It is essential to adopt laws that protect Jewish life in Europe and prevent antisemitism, as well as boycotts of Israel and anti-Zionism in general,” Markowicz said.

“The pro-Palestinian demonstrations since October 7 are the difficulty. The problem is not demonstrating for the Palestinian cause. One can be against Israeli policies—we live in a free world—but these rallies are not against Israeli policy, they are antisemitic and prevent Jews from going about their daily life freely,” he added. 

To this end, the resolution passed on Tuesday recommends “the appointment of dedicated professionals to deal with antisemitic complaints to adopt much tougher responses to antisemitic incidents, and establish a fast-track procedure towards prosecution.”

It also calls on national parliaments to enshrine in law the principles of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of Jew-hatred, and establish the legal means to prosecute those in breach of those principles.

The motion expresses “great concern” over European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who has demonstrated “clear and repeated anti-Israel bias that has been a significant contributory factor to the ongoing antisemitism and the vilification of the State of Israel as a whole in the European public space.” 

Last month, Israel’s Foreign Ministry blasted Borrell for comments in which he panned the Jewish state for rejecting the Hamas terrorist group’s proposal for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Borrell’s remarks were a “dangerous mix of ignorance, hostility and the legitimization of terrorism,” Israeli spokesperson Oren Marmorstein said.

The top E.U. diplomat had told reporters that “Hamas accepted, Israel rejected and the land offensive against Rafah has started again, despite all the requests of the international community. I am afraid that this is going to cause again a lot of casualties, civilian casualties.”

In March, Borell accused Jerusalem of “provoking famine” in Gaza, claiming that the Israel Defense Forces is using starvation as a “weapon of war.”

“Gaza was before the war the greatest open-air prison. Today, it is the greatest open-air graveyard,” Borrell claimed in separate comments.’

The resolution on Tuesday urged the European Council to properly vet the next E.U. foreign policy chief and ensure that the position is not allowed to be “exploited and manipulated for partisan purposes.”

The resolution will be shared with and discussed with all European national parliaments and governments, all European special envoys for combating antisemitism and the presidents of the European Council and European Commission.

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