Monday, 30 Jan 2023 - 8 of Shevat, 5783
EU

14 EU member states have already adopted action plans to combat antisemitism, says EU official at Chanukah lighting

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Katharina von Schnurbein,  a German citizen who is since 7 years the EU Comlmission coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, mentioned that her family and herself have learnt so much about Judaism, Jewish traditions and festivities. ‘’We love it and we feel tremendously enriched.’’

‘’European Jews have contributed to the making of modern Europe, to the shaping of our European identity, our common values and universal human rights,’’ said Katharina von Schnurbein, the European Commission Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life at the lighting of the Euro-Chanukia in the EU quarter of Brussels on Monday.  

The lighting is organized every year on Schuman Square by the European Jewish Community Centre (EJCC) in partnership with the European Jewish Association (EJA) and the City of Brussels.

‘’Europe is what it is today also because of its rich Jewish culture and Jewish art.  And Jewish cuisine in all its forms of fusion. Like sufganiot with frites! A unique fusion possible only in Brussels,’’ she added.

Von Schnurbein, a German citizen who is in her post since seven years, mentioned that her family and herself have learnt so much about Judaism, Jewish traditions and festivities. ‘’We love it and we feel tremendously enriched.’’

She recalled that a bit more than a year ago the European Commission adopted its first-ever EU strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life. ‘’As a German and a non-Jew it has been the honour of my life to help a strategy see the light that has at its very heart the political determination  to ‘’foster Jewish life ‘’ in Europe,’’ she said.

‘’Let me tell you a secret. You have to read this strategy starting from its end, quasi like a Hebrew book from right to left. Thereby the last sentence becomes the first. And it reads: “Europe can only prosper when its Jewish communities prosper too”. This is what it’s all about.’’

‘’We will only see an EU free from antisemitism and racism if the member states, the regions, the cities get make it their goal too,’’ she continued, adding that ‘’we are very pleased that following our proposal, the 27 EU countries agreed to each develop their own naval strategies to combat antisemitism by the end of 2022. 14 member states have already adopted such action plans and most others have signaled adoption in the coming months. This is tremendous progress.’’

She noted that the European Commission last week opened a call for proposal worther 20 million € to support projects against antisemitism and other forms of racism. ‘’We hope to see many more initiatives from civil society that prevent or fight antisemitism, provide education, initiate Holocaust remembrance or promote Jewish heritage in our cities,’’ she said.

‘’Our Union is built on the promise of a vibrant and diverse society. Jews are part of this society and we want to ensure that they can go about their lives in line with their cultural and religious traditions. Like every other member of society,’’ Katharina von Schnurbein added.

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