B’nai B’rith Welcomes EU Council Declaration on Mainstreaming the Fight Against Anti-Semitism Across Policy-Areas
(Washington, D.C., Dec 2, 2020)—B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International welcomes the EU Council Declaration on mainstreaming the fight against anti-Semitism across policy areas issued today through unanimous agreement by EU member states. The declaration highlights a core belief we share and advocate for in the EU and globally: fighting anti-Semitism is not merely a Jewish responsibility; it is a responsibility for all society.
The declaration, spearheaded by the German presidency of the council, recognizes that the fight against anti-Semitism is a cross-cutting policy issue. It must involve government and policies at local, national and European levels. Thus, the fight against anti-Semitism extends to all policy areas – from education and sports to security, migration or digital governance.
We applaud the focus placed on Jewish heritage as an integral part of the European fabric, as the declaration notes that“Judaism and Jewish life have contributed considerably to shaping European identity and enriching Europe’s cultural, intellectual and religious heritage.” Thus, member states commit to the important mission of making Jewish life more visible as part of Europe’s identity.
As nearly half of EU member states are yet to adopt the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of anti-Semitism, the declaration calls for the implementation of this crucial commitment highlighted in the 2018 “Council Declaration on the fight against anti-Semitism and the development of a common security approach to better protect Jewish communities and institutions in Europe.” We echo this call – the IHRA definition is a first necessary step in identifying and addressing this age-old scourge, whether it stems from the far-right, the far-left or radical Islam.
Importantly, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the declaration recognizes the need to accelerate the fight against anti-Semitism online, underlining that crimes committed online are subject to the same legal remedies as those committed offline.
As we hail this new declaration as an important step, we urge EU countries to take measures to implement its commitments in the urgent and essential task of tackling anti-Semitism and safeguarding Jewish life. As Jewish communities across Europe face old and new challenges, appropriate resources must be directed at all levels of government to live up to this task.
See the full text of the Declaration here.
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 www.bnaibrith.org.