AJC Praises EU Council Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism

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AJC Praises EU Council Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism

Brussels – December 6, 2018 – American Jewish Committee (AJC) praised the Council of the European Union statement on combating anti-Semitism across Europe. It is the first time the Council’s 28-member states have passed a comprehensive measure aimed at mobilizing to counter anti-Semitism and to assure the safety of European Jews.

“The EU 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.

“Significantly, the 28-member states have joined together in expressing unequivocal recognition of the severity of continuing threats to Jews, the need for stepped up measures to protect Jewish institutions and communities, and the critical importance of governments implementing the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).”

The Council’s “Declaration on the Fight Against Anti-Semitism and the Development of a Common Security Approach to Better Protect Jewish Communities and Institutions in Europe,” adopted unanimously today, asks member states “to adopt and implement a holistic strategy to prevent and fight all forms of anti-Semitism.”

It expresses EU 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,” and calls on member states “to increase their efforts to ensure security of Jewish communities, institutions, and citizens,” including providing the financial support for “necessary security measures.”

The Council Declaration calls on EU member states that have not yet adopted the IHRA working definition to endorse it. Adopted in 2016 by the alliance’s 31-member states, it is based on the 2005 European Monitoring Centre (EUMC) Working Definition. It offers a clear and comprehensive description of anti-Semitism in its various forms, including hatred and discrimination against Jews, Holocaust denial, and, of note, anti-Semitism as it can at times relate to Israel.

The Council Declaration comes two weeks after Austria, currently the president of the EU, convened in Vienna a major conference on anti-Semitism, and ahead of the anticipated release on Monday of the Fundamental Rights Agency survey of European Jewish communities. 

In 2014, AJC called on EU Ministers to Convene Special Meeting on Anti-Semitism. In 2015, AJC convened in Brussels “A Defining Moment for Europe,” a strategy conference on combating anti-Semitism. The Call to Action adopted at the groundbreaking conference was updated in June 2018.