Ursula von der Leyen discussed the frightening increase in antisemitic hatred in Europe, including most recently violent anti-Israel demonstrations and graffiti in European streets and on synagogues.
“Antisemitic crimes and hate speech must be brought to justice,” she emphasized.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told hundreds of Jewish community leaders from around the world that the European Union is committed to combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, including through a forthcoming rollout of the first ever EU strategy to advance these goals.
Von der Leyen spoke to the delegates of the World Jewish Congress’ Plenary Assembly, which comes together every four years to address key issues affecting Jewish communities and set the organization’s policy for the years ahead.
“For decades, you have been at the forefront of fighting for the rights of Jewish communities around the world, to eradicate antisemitism and to make sure that the memory of the Holocaust is kept alive, and I am here to tell you Europe is with you in this fight,” she said. “Because sadly, antisemitism is not confined to a distant past. It is still very present in Europe and across the world.”
She emphasized, “Antisemitic crimes and hate speech must be brought to justice.”
Von der Leyen discussed the frightening increase in antisemitic hatred in Europe, including most recently violent anti-Israel demonstrations and graffiti in European streets and on synagogues. She highlighted the multi-pronged approach of EU’s new strategy, which will:
- Strengthen the fight against antisemitism
- Preserve the memory of past atrocities and ensure all European students learn about the Holocaust, “no matter their background, family history or country of origin”
- Foster Jewish life in Europe
The COVID-19 pandemic in particular, said von der Leyen, has shown how quickly antisemitic conspiracy myths can spread.
She contoinued, ”The duty to protect the future of the Jewish people starts with remembering the past, but of course it does not end there. Europe can only prosper when its Jewish communities prosper too. Seventy-six years after the Holocaust, Jewish life in Europe is thriving again in synagogues, in schools, in kindergartens and in the heart of our communities. And we must continue to protect it.”
The European Commission is the executive branch of the European Union, which proposes new European legislation and implements the decisions of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.