Thursday, 2 Dec 2021 - 28 of Kislev, 5782

Jewish organization brings political personalities to Auschwitz to emphasize the importance of education in the fight against antisemitism

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The dates for this event were chosen in light of the commemoration of Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass when in the night of November 9th-10th 1938 the Nazis organized the murder of Jews, they vandalized thousands of Jewish-owned businesses, shattering the glass in storefronts, they burned 1,400 synagogues and Jewish institutions.

The European Jewish Association (EJA), an organization which represents Jewish communities across Europe, brings Monday around 130 political personalities and Jewish leaders from across Europe and abroad to Krakow for a symposium around the importance of education in combating antisemitism which will be followed by a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau former death camps.

”Europe is fighting anti-Semitism but isn’t winning yet,” said EJA Chairan Rabbi Menachem Margolin who puts emphasis on education ”as a vaccine to the oldest, most virulent virus in Europe.”

The dates for this event were chosen in light of the commemoration of Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass when in the night of November 9th-10th 1938 the Nazis organized the murder of Jews, they vandalized thousands of Jewish-owned businesses, shattering the glass in storefronts, they burned 1,400 synagogues and Jewish institutions.

The symposium will address the priority need for Holocaust education in Europe, as well as looking more broadly at the issues involved in securing a future for Jewish communities in Europe.

The European elected and diplomatic leaders will discuss together with the heads of Jewish communities and organizations also present legal, educational and operational avenues and explore tools to ensure the most effective fight against anti-Semitism in Europe. The covid 19 pandemic has seen a dramatic uptick in antisemitic discourse, particularly online.

Jews across Europe are deeply concerned about this rise of anti-Semitism across the continent. A recent survey has showed how deep antisemitic prejudices are present among people in several European countries. ‘’The matter is very urgent and the time to act is now,’’ says the European Jewish Association.

Among the personalities who will participate and speak are the European Parliament Vice-President Roberta Metsola, British Secertary for Education Nadhim Zahawi, Morocco’s Minister of Culture and Youth Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid, Greek Minister of Justice Konstantinos Tsiaras, the Polish Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the President of Poland, Wojciech Kolarski, as well as dozens of members of Parliaments from both Western and Eastern Europe.  

The delegation’s programme includes concrete suggestions for educational projects related not only to the memory of the Holocaust but also to the positive role played by the Jewish people throughout history at national and continental level in subjects such as ethics, values, science, arts and medicine. The role of social media in this context will also be discussed with the Head of Government Policy at You Tube.

The European Jewish Association’s King David Award will be presented to the chief of Italy’s Police, Lamberto Giannini, for his role in safeguarding and protecting Jewish communities in his country and fighting far right and far-left extremism.

On Tuesday, at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps, a memorial ceremony will be held with prayers by Netherlands Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs and the lighting of candles.

The ceremony will be followed by the laying of wreaths at the Death Wall by delegations from each country represented.

The European Jewish Association will once again urge European lawmakers to adopt its 10-point plan aimed at eradicating antisemitism. They are:

1.Encouraging and underlining to Member States that safeguarding the right of Jewish people within the EU to practice religious customs is a fundamental EU right.

2.Promote educational initiatives on national curriculums underlining that antisemitism has no place in a modern and tolerant Europe

3.Allocating EU budget and encouraging Member States to set aside budget for the maintenance and support of Jewish educational facilities and places of learning

4.Encouraging Member States to support security for Jewish institutions and buildings and increasing this support at times of heightened tensions.

5.Pressure social media companies to act faster, more decisively on hate speech by imposing punitive and serious financial penalties when such content lingers.

6.Member States to root out and/or ban NGOs or other associated groups that promote, support or tolerate antisemitism according to the IHRA definition.

7.EU Funding: conditionality on commitments to fight racism, antisemitism and discrimination.

8. Countries who haven’t already appointed a special envoy for combating antisemitism to do so, and additionally to set up an official committee for monitoring and combating antisemitism in national Parliaments.

9. BDS: legal safeguards against BDS at European and national level.

10. Ban the sale of Nazi memorabilia at auctions and on websites for private individuals or entities not directly involved in educational facilities such as Universities or Museums.

 

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