Sunday, 20 Jun 2021 - 10 of Tammuz, 5781
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International Jewish organizations publish recommendations to combat antisemitism and fostering Jewish life in Europe

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The document was presented this week to the European Commission ahead of the Commission’s publication of a first ever strategy to combat anti-Jewish bigotry announced last December.

Several international Jewish organizations have published a set of recommendations to combat antisemitism and foster Jewish life in Europe. The document was presented this week to the European Commission ahead of the Commission’s publication of a first ever strategy to combat anti-Jewish bigotry announced last December.

The initiators of the document include the AJC Transatlantic Institute,the European Jewish Congress (EJC), the World Jewish Congress (WJC), B’nai B’rith International (BBI), The European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS), the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ), the European Union for Progressive Judaism (EUPJ), B’nai B’rith Europe (BBE), and CEJI – A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe.

“Within living memory of the Holocaust, we have witnessed an unprecedented surge of violent antisemitic attacks in Europe and America, sending shockwaves through the Jewish world and beyond. We hope these recommendations will help guide the EU as it draws up its first strategy on combating antisemitism,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the Brussels-based AJC Transatlantic Institute.

The recommendations build on the Council Declaration on mainstreaming the fight against antisemitism across policy areas, adopted unanimously by all EU member states in December 2020, and make concrete proposals for a wide spectrum of EU policy portfolios.

The recommendations include:

  • Facilitating the recognition, monitoring of antisemitic incidents.
  • Providing heightened security and victim support and ensure the judicial system robustly prosecutes antisemitic hate crimes.
  • Integrating the fight against antisemitism into the EU’s integration and inclusion agenda, digital policy and its mandate in the field of education.
  • Strengthening the existing legal framework to protect essential Jewish practices such as religious slaughter and male circumcision.
  • Educating about Europe’s rich Jewish cultural heritage.
  • Safeguarding the memory of the Holocaust against trivialization and distortion.
  • Promoting the fight against antisemitism in European external action, including in international partnerships, political and human rights dialogues with third countries, and in the EU’s neighborhood and enlargement process.

All signatories agreed that the European Commission must respond to the dangerous spike in antisemitic attacks. The groups recognize and applaud the sustained efforts in recent years to curb this age-old scourge and expect the European Commission to widen and deepen its work in the upcoming EU strategy, which was announced by European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas earlier this year.

New study shows rise in antisemitic online content during the pandemic

Earlier this wee, the European Commission published the findings of the study “The rise of Antisemitism online during the pandemic”, conducted by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), which analyses online content in French and German. Comparing the first two months of 2020 with the first two of 2021, the findings show a seven-fold increase in antisemitic content on Twitter, Facebook and Telegram in French, and over a thirteen-fold increase in antisemitic content in German. Antisemitic content in French on Facebook was also liked, commented on and shared over half a million times between 1 January 2020 and 8 March 2021. Content in French received over three million retweets and likes on Twitter.

Antisemitic content in German on Telegram was viewed over two billion times in the same period. The study also found a proliferation of ‘grey area’ content, which likely did not contravene legal thresholds around hate speech or Holocaust denial in France or Germany, but which nonetheless has the potential to be harmful.

The study was published on the occasion of the 5th European Commission Working Group on Antisemitism.

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