(Washington, D.C., Dec. 20, 2018)— Benjamin Nägele, B’nai B’rith’s director for European Union (EU) affairs, joined CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin for a discussion on anti-Semitism in Europe and how B’nai B’rith is working with EU-affiliated institutions and member states to combat it.
Nägele and Mariaschin discussed B’nai B’rith’s European advocacy on behalf of our members and the Jewish community at large. Within EU institutions, B’nai B’rith works with the European Parliament as an advisory board member of the Anti-Semitism Working Group; with the European Commission in conjunction with the Fundamental Rights Unit; and with the European Council, which prioritized tackling anti-Semitism as one of its main objectives this year. The council’s presidency rotates among member states, and this year’s Austrian Presidency used its six-month term to hold a conference focused on anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Influenced by the EU’s renewed focus on anti-Semitism, a number of European countries have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s working definition of anti-Semitism.
The podcast also delved into the results of a recent disturbing survey on anti-Semitism in Europe conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), which showed that 85 percent of European Jews believed anti-Semitism was the largest social or political problem in their country. To Nägele, the most striking statistics from the survey were the revelations that 38 percent of European Jews had considered emigrating in the next decade and 79 percent of those who had experienced anti-Semitic harassment in the past five years said they did not report the most serious anti-Semitic incidents to police, because they thought doing so would be futile.
He emphasized that while European Jews understand the prevalence of anti-Semitism in Europe, non-Jews may not be aware of its full extent: “Anti-Semitism can be vandalism. It can be insults. It can be harassment at the workplace, and so on, and it not only affects the direct victim, but it also affects the communities at large. And people simply don’t perceive it as a problem because Jewish populations across European member states are such a small percentage of society. A lot of the time, they’re not even one percent of the overall population, but at the same time, they attract, depending on the European country, up to 40 percent of all hate crimes committed. That’s a crazy proportion of focus on one specific minority.”
To listen to the full discussion on our podcast, click 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