AJC Statement ahead of the European Commission's first Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights

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AJC Statement ahead of the European Commission's first Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights

Brussels - 1 October 2015 - The American Jewish Committee believes the success of the European Commission’s first Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights will depend on transforming words into concrete and pragmatic steps to combat anti-Semitism. 

AJC welcomed the long-overdue decision of First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, in cooperation with EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová to bring together a selected number of high-level participants from across the EU, including from AJC, aimed at “preventing and combating antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe."

“AJC has for years called on the EU and its member states to combat the rise of anti-Jewish incidents, which is not only a threat to Jews but an assault on Europe’s core values and with the recent spate of murderous terror attacks the need for such action has become only too self-evident.” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute. “This is why in May, AJC convened a high-level strategy conference on combating anti-Semitism, presenting its own action plan which we believe would serve today’s colloquium well,” Schwammenthal said.

The plan, which is available at , calls on European governments to make the fight against anti-Semitism an urgent priority for individual countries, and collectively for the entire EU. It specifies steps for governments to assess the severity and sources of the problem; provide for the security of Jewish institutions and communities; take on purveyors of anti-Semitism on the Internet and in social media; recognize that vilification of Israel too often is a cover for expressions of anti-Semitism and confront radical Islam and invest in education that imparts European values.

Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC Director of International Jewish Affairs, has also stressed the value of adopting a comprehensive definition of anti-Semitism that can be employed by governments and civil society monitors alike, a position echoed by other Jewish organizations and European Jewish leaders. “The EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, drafted ten years ago, serves this very purpose, and it includes the important description of how anti-Israel animus can become a form of anti-Semitism. Vice President Timmermans should use the occasion of this colloquium to formally endorse the EUMC Working Definition,” said Baker.