EU, Israel commit to further co-operation in protecting Jewish communities

Written by on December 19, 2018 in Europe - Comments Off on EU, Israel commit to further co-operation in protecting Jewish communities

The European Union and the State of Israel have committed to further collaboration in protecting Jewish communities, institutions as well as cultural heritage around the world and in multinational organisations.

This emerged in a joint statement after the 12th EU-Israel seminar, held in Brussels on December 17 and 18, on combating racism, xenophobia and antisemitism.

The EU-Israel seminar is a unique annual forum that brings together European and Israeli civil servants, policymakers, companies, international organisations and civil society to discuss best practices and ways forward in addressing racism, xenophobia and antisemitism.

Hosting the High-Level Seminar, Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: ” One week ago, we published the results of a survey of European Jews, which deeply saddened me:  Nine out of 10 Jews in Europe say that antisemitism has increased over the past five years.

“On a daily basis, Jews have to hide their religion and fear to be harassed on the streets and online,” she said.

“Fighting the scourge of antisemitism, also when it hides behind antizionism, here in Europe and worldwide is a joint endeavour of the European Union and the State of Israel.

“We are aware about the fundamental importance Israel plays for the majority of Jewish communities in Europe be it culturally, religiously or by family ties. The voices of European Jews are at the centre of our efforts and their well-being must be the first priority when dealing with antisemitism,” Jourová said.

Akiva Tor, Head of Bureau for World Jewish Affairs and World Religions, at Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said “In the view of Israel – the information superhighway is an unprecedented tool for the spread of knowledge, free expression and global interconnectedness.

“But we can’t close our eyes to the unprecedented challenges to human dignity and public safety due to the ubiquity of unfiltered cyberhate and web antisemitism. More steps are required by the internet industry and governments and a greater commitment is still needed.”

In four working sessions, the forum discussed thematic priorities to address antisemitism among them data collection on antisemitic incidents and experiences of Jewish communities; security of Jewish communities; hate speech online and eventually education and training to counter antisemitism.

The EU and the State of Israel committed to further collaboration in protecting Jewish communities, institutions as well as cultural heritage around the world and in multinational organisations.

Furthermore, both sides emphasised the need to promote the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism as a useful tool for educating and training as well closer cooperation with Jewish communities on national and local level.

The forum took place this year on the backdrop of a unanimous declaration by all 28 EU member states on combating antisemitism and protecting Jewish communities, adopted on December 6 by the EU Council.

Similarly, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency survey on Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of antisemitism in 12 EU Member States highlighted the urgent need to address antisemitism in a holistic way.

On November 29 2018, the EU acquired a Permanent International Partnership with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The participation of the EU in this international body will allow for closer co-operation on combating Holocaust denial and preventing racism, xenophobia and antisemitism, the joint statement said.

(Photo, of Sofia Central Synagogue: president.bg)

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