Saturday, 16 Nov 2019 - 18 of Heshvan, 5780

At Bucharest high-level event, Romania’s EU presidency issues official declaration affirming commitment to fighting antisemitism

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This unprecedented gathering brought together the national directors of more than 50 Jewish communities around the world with more than 30 government representatives tasked specifically with combating antisemitism, in order to identify the key issues and deliberate best practices going forward, under the banner “Perspective to a Future Strategy to Prevent and Fight Antisemitism, Racism, Xenophobia, Radicalization and Hate Speech.”

BUCHAREST—Romania’s Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, whose country currently chairs the Council of the Europeran Union,  issued an official declaration on Tuesday affirming its commitment to contributing and supporting international initiatives directed at tackling the challenges facing Jewish communities.

The declaration was published at the conclusion of a two-day International Meeting of Special Envoys and Coordinators on Combating Antisemitism, organized as a cooperative effort of the World Jewish Congress, EU Council President Dancila and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania.

This unprecedented gathering brought together the national directors of more than 50 Jewish communities around the world with more than 30 government representatives tasked specifically with combating antisemitism, in order to identify the key issues and deliberate best practices going forward, under the banner “Perspective to a Future Strategy to Prevent and Fight Antisemitism, Racism, Xenophobia, Radicalization and Hate Speech.”

The EU presidency’s declaration affirms that “the conclusion of the meeting indicates that significant challenges remain to be tackled, and extra measures should be envisaged,” in certain areas, with four identified in particular: 1) Improving dialogue and cooperation to ensure the security of Jewish communities; 2) promoting the endorsement of the non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance; 3) financing Holocaust research, education, and remembrance; and 4) improving the recording and collecting of hate crime data, including specialized training programs for law enforcement and criminal justice authorities and providing support to organizations actively involved with collection of data regarding hate crimes.
Key participants included Elan Carr, the US Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism, Felix Klein,  Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight Against Antisemitism and Katharina von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator for Combating Antisemitism.

Katharina von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator for Combating Antisemitism, speaks at the Bucharest event.
Picture by Shahar Azran/World Jewish Congress

Speaking at the Romanian parliament  in the presence of representatives from international organizations, government entities, and the Jewish community, Prime Minister Dancila underscored her government’s commitment to the European values of tolerance, adding: “During its rotational presidency, the Romanian government has set as an essential objective the promotion of the effective fight against racism, intolerance, xenophobia, populism, anti-Semitism and discouraging discourse of hate.’’

She stressed that her government was dedicated to these values of “respecting human rights and reducing the gap between EU citizens,” elements, she said, which she saw as being “of major relevance to the dialogue we have with the Jewish communities.”

She also highlighted Romania’s efforts in the field of education, research and memory of the Holocaust and combating antisemitism, which she said she hoped would serve as a point of reference for the region and internationally. The commitment of the Romanian government to these issues would continue, Dancilă said.

In closing the conference, WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said: “ Let us always remember, it is less important who stands against you. What is important is who stands with you. You, the special envoys on combating antisemitism and the Romanian Presidency of the EU under the leadership of Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, have shown that you stand with us, the Jewish people.’’

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