The spike of antisemitic incidents across Europe has reached extraordinary levels in the last few days, reminiscent of some of the darkest times in history, the European Commission (EC) said in a statement on November 5.
“European Jews today are again living in fear,” the EC said.
“We have seen a resurgence of antisemitic incidents and rhetoric in the European Union and worldwide: Molotov cocktails thrown on a synagogue in Germany, stars of David sprayed on residential buildings in France, a Jewish cemetery desecrated in Austria, Jewish stores and synagogues attacked in Spain, demonstrators chanting hate slogans against Jews.
“In these difficult times the EU stands by its Jewish communities,” the Commission said.
“We condemn these despicable acts in the strongest possible terms. They go against everything that Europe stands for. Against our core values and our way of life.”
The EC said that the antisemitic incidents and rhetoric go against the model of society it represents: one based on equality, inclusiveness and the full respect of human rights.
“Jewish, Muslim, Christian – no one should live in fear of discrimination or violence because of their religion or their identity. The EU is determined to protect the wellbeing of all its communities, ethnic, religious or other,” the EC said.
“We have to push back against this rise in antisemitism, as well as the rise in anti-Muslim hatred that we have been witnessing over the past weeks – which has no place in Europe.”
It said that the EU already had powerful tools at its disposal to address such incidents: EU law criminalises public incitement to hatred and violence and sets out a common approach to tackling racist and xenophobic hate speech and hate crimes.
Ensuring its rigorous enforcement is now more imperative than ever, the EC said.
And since 2021, the EU has in place its first-ever comprehensive strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life as well as since 2020 an EU anti-racism action plan, it said.
“In cooperation with member states, we will continue to step up security measures,” the EC said.
“We have already increased EU funding to protect places of worship and other premises and are working to make more support available. In parallel, we are stepping up the enforcement of relevant legislation to ensure online platforms react swiftly and effectively to antisemitic or anti-Muslim content online, be it terrorist content, hate speech or disinformation.
“It is our shared responsibility as Europeans to call out hate in all its forms and stand up against it,” the statement said.
(Photo: Sébastien Bertrand)
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