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 www.ajc.org, 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.