Thursday, 2 Dec 2021 - 28 of Kislev, 5782

EU’s Coordinator on Combatting Antisemitism honored by Jewish group

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The European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism, Katherina von Schnurbein, will be awarded the 2021 Rabbi Moshe Rosen Prize, one of the highest awards of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER).

It honors her ‘’outstanding example of civic involvement for a tolerant Europe and unceasing solidarity with the Jewish community.’’

She will be awarded at a ceremony at the CER’s General Convention which is taking place in Munich on Monday.

Von Schnurbein, who was appointed as the EU Commission Coordinator on Combatting Antisemitism in December 2015, has taken a leading role in helping the EU to devise a comprehensive strategy on combating antisemitism in its efforts to promote a unique European way of life.

‘’The Coordinator acts as contact points for Jewish communities and relevant organisations while contributing to the development of the European Commission’s overarching strategy to prevent and combat racism, intolerance and discrimination. She liaises with the Member States, the European Parliament, other institutions, relevant civil society organisations and academia with a view to strengthening policy responses designed to address antisemitism.’’

She has also been highly vocal on the need to combat antisemitism and hate speech on social media, having previously presented the Commission’s pledge to address online hate with strong legislation, a network of trusted flaggers to remove illegal hate speech and fact-checkers to address conspiracy and disinformation.

Prior to her current post, she worked for five years as advisor to EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso on the dialogue with religions and non-confessional organizations.Last month, the EU unveiled its first Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life.

The strategy emphasizes the need for a comprehensive response in light of the complexity of the problem. “The Commission will therefore take the fight against antisemitism systematically into consideration when developing policies, legislation and funding programmes,” the strategy reads, by “mainstreaming the prevention and countering of antisemitism in all its forms and across all policy areas.”

Among the Commission’s key recommendations to member states are the adoption and use of the IHRA Working Definition of antisemitism–which also addresses Israel-related antisemitism—the development of a national action plan, and the appointment of a special coordinator.

The Commission also urged member states to protect Jewish communities and provide funding for their security. As the Commission notes, security is a key concern for Europe’s Jews and many communities must invest significant parts of their limited budgets in their own security measures.

Furthermore, the Commission underlines that in its foreign relations it will promote full compliance of education material with UNESCO standards and ensure that EU external funds will not be misused to help incitement and violence against Jews.

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