(December 6, 2018 / JNS) Several Jewish groups praised the Council of the European Union for its unanimous adoption of a statement on combating anti-Semitism across the continent.
The measure, which was the first time the council’s 28-member states have passed a resolution countering anti-Semitism, calls on its member states to “to adopt and implement a holistic strategy to prevent and fight all forms of anti-Semitism.”
It also expresses E.U. determination to “ensure a future for Jewish people to live with the same sense of security and freedom as all other citizens in the European Union,” while urging E.U. member states that have not yet adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism to endorse it.
“The E.U. has taken a historic step toward fighting all forms of hatred targeting Jews,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute, the Brussels-based arm of AJC, the global Jewish-advocacy organization.
“This declaration is an important step in the fight against anti-Semitism because it provides a positive and concrete road map for the safeguarding of Jewish communities and strengthens the legislative tools for governments to fight hate and intolerance,” European Jewish Congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor. “Now we hope that each E.U. 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 anti-Semitism.”
Ronald S. Lauder, president of the WJC, said “just days after polling revealed that anti-Semitism continues to haunt Europe—and with the memory of the Holocaust fading—this declaration is a clear recognition by the governments of all E.U. member states that serious action, both politically and practically, is needed to deal with the clear and specific challenges posed by this ancient hatred.”
The Jewish groups also praised Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who currently holds the E.U. presidency, for initiating the declaration.
“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,” continued Kantor. “One of the most urgent calls for action in the declaration is to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism to assist law-enforcement agencies in their efforts to identify and investigate more efficiently anti-Semitic manifestations in all their forms.”