B’nai B’rith International Welcomes EU Strategy on Combating Anti-Semitism and Fostering Jewish Life
(Washington, D.C., Oct. 5, 2021)--B’nai B’rith President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International welcomes the ambitious first-ever European Union Strategy on Combating Anti-Semitism and Fostering Jewish Life, for the 2021-2030 period.
On the heels of mounting concerns faced by Europe’s Jewish communities—from physical attacks to online harassment, hurdles placed on religious practice and dwindling knowledge about the Holocaust—the document is a comprehensive response to a multifaceted challenge and recognizes the invaluable contributions of Jewish Europeans to the continent’s fabric.
The strategy promotes the adoption by member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, the appointment of national coordinators and the preparedness of national equality bodies to address anti-Jewish hatred. Of critical importance is the recognition that anti-Semitism can “hide behind anti-Zionism” and that its manifestations can include Israel-related anti-Semitism.
We are pleased that the strategy puts due focus on external action, committing to promote the fight against anti-Semitism in the EU’s cooperation with partner countries outside the Union and to ensure no EU funds are misused for activities that promote hatred and incitement.
Especially relevant following the recent ruling by the Constitutional Court of Belgium to uphold a ban on kosher slaughter is the call on member states to put in place legal safeguards to enable Jewish communities to practice our traditions.
We are equally encouraged by stepped-up efforts to address anti-Semitism online, including strengthening cooperation with platforms to remove Nazi memorabilia, symbols and literature.
Finally, as we welcome this milestone document, we are grateful for the collaborative and consultative approach by the European Commission, and especially its coordinator for combating anti-Semitism and fostering Jewish life, Katharina von Schnurbein, as well as the will and commitment of European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Von der Leyen channeled this commitment to B’nai B’rith on International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021, saying, “anti-Semitism strikes at the heart of our values: humanity, religious freedom, equality. Anti-Semitism is a poison for our society. It is up to all of us to fight it. To prevent it. And to eradicate it.” We are encouraged that these words are the opening, guiding motto of the strategy and we look forward to being continued partners in its implementation process.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit bnaibrith.org.