Monday, 16 May 2022 - 15 of Iyyar, 5782

Call for a change of direction towards youth in fight against antisemitism

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At Holocaust remembrance event, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to support educational projects, remembrance institutions and organizations committed to fighting hatred

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor has called on leaders, decision-makers and opinion-shapers around the world to rethink the way antisemitism is fought and to reorientate policy towards younger generations.

He spoke at an official International Holocaust Remembrance Day event alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council Charles Michel and former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, newly elected President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, Vice President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Promoting the European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas.

The event, organized by the European Jewish Congress, was held in cooperation with the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union and CRIF, the umbrella representative group of French Jewish institutions.

“Today’s youth are not aware or concerned about the lessons of World War Two or the Shoah,” Kantor said.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, young people have spent even more time online, soaking up information, some of it accurate, much of it not. There has been a tsunami of lies about Jews, Israel and the Holocaust over the last couple of years, so we have to create new strategies to reach those who are consuming this information innocently,’’ Kantor added.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke about the commitment that the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union has made fighting all forms of discrimination as one of its priorities, and it will reaffirm the specificity and unique nature of antisemitism.

“It is a battle to ensure there is no repetition of the mistakes of the past, and a battle for the dignity of all,” Macron said. “This fight has unfortunately become a reality once more, as ill winds have risen again, as political discourse has set in, as falsifications of history are back, and as certain acts remind us on a daily basis that we have not finished this battle. We will yield no ground.”

“On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remember all those who survived, and the millions who perished in the Holocaust. We must never forget. Because Jewish life is an integral part of Europe’s history and of Europe’s future,” European Commission President von der Leyen said. “The Commission will continue fighting antisemitism and defending human rights and dignity in Europe and in the world. You can always count on the European Commission to stand by your side.”

“Today the lessons of the Shoah are more relevant than ever. First, because Jewish people feel threatened, and they are threatened,” European Council President Michel said. “They are even attacked in Europe. Just because they are Jewish. We do not accept this. We will never accept it. It cannot be repeated enough. Europe would not be what it is today without Jewish people. And Europe without Jewish people would not be Europe.”

 “Our generation has a sacred responsibility to teach the lessons of history and to remind our youth of how low humanity was allowed to sink,” European Parliament President Roberta Metsola

Vice President Schinas spoke about the ever-growing threat of Holocaust trivialization, especially that which compares the Holocaust to Covid-19.

‘’This is unacceptable. Holocaust distortion if left unchallenged nourishes antisemitism, polarises and creates dangerous forms of nationalism. This constitutes a threat to our democracies,’’ he added.

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