EU council antisemitism declaration: we must protect Jewish communities

EU Council antisemitism declaration
© iStock/tomertu

The Council of the European Union yesterday approved its official EU Council antisemitism declaration, announcing a common security approach to protect Jewish communities and institutions in Europe.

The EU Council antisemitism declaration acknowledges the vulnerability and fear felt by some Jewish communities across the EU in the face of rising populism and increased sympathy for the far right in many Member States; observing that the last few years have seen “a worrying increase in the number of manifestations of hate speech, hate crimes, racism, xenophobia and intolerance in Europe affecting minorities and other vulnerable groups, including Jewish people, as recorded by those Member States who collect official data, as well as the second wave of the FRA [Fundamental Rights Agency] survey on discrimination and hate crimes against Jewish people in the EU.”

Placing particular emphasis on the deviation from acceptable EU values represented by antisemitic attacks and expressing concern that the situation for Jewish people EU-wide has not improved, the EU Council antisemitism declaration invites Member States to take further action to protect their Jewish citizens, saying: “The security of Jewish people is an immediate necessity and requires timely action of the Member States and the EU institutions.”

The EU Council antisemitism declaration calls on Member States to adopt a holistic strategy to tackle antisemitism as part of their wider efforts to combat racism and xenophobia. Countries which have not done so already are encouraged to adopt the working definition of antisemitism employed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in training and educating the public and law enforcement.

The Fundamental Rights Agency and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights both provide ongoing training of law enforcement representatives, working to improve the ability of legal authorities to collate and record data on hate crimes. The EU Council antisemitism declaration encourages Member States to take advantage of this training, as well as introducing educational resources pertaining to all forms of hate crime into school curricula.

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