Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who presented the plan, noted that people in his country have downplayed the Holocaust in recent times.
According to a report in June, the number of antisemitic incidents in the country remains worryingly high.
So far, 11 EU countries have adopted a national plan to combat antisemitism: Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia.
Luxembourg unveiled Tuesday its new ‘’National Action Plan Against Antisemitism’’ (PANAS) which includes 19 measures focusing on bolstering commemorative culture, enhancing synagogue security and combatting online hate amid an alleged rise in anti-Jewish sentiments across Europe.
In 2021, the European Commission adopted its first ever EU Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life. In this context and amid reports of a rise in antisemitism in Europe, the European Union has, over the last few years, advised its member states to create national action plans against antisemitism.
Luxembourg was the latest country to unveil its own version. The document proposes 19 individual measures. A majority of the measures concern remembrance of the Shoah, particularly at a time when only a few survivors of the Nazi death camps remain.
Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who presented the plan, noted that people in his country have downplayed the Holocaust in recent times. This is in reference to statements and choices, made during protests by those who opposed pandemic measures: some of these protesters were seen wearing a yellow Star of David while marching through the streets of the capital.
Under proposed plans, the Cinqfontaines monastery, once used by Germans to incarcerate Jewish people, will become an educational and commemorative site.
The plan also foresees increased security around both of Luxembourg’s synagogues. Antisemitic intentions will be considered aggravating factors in criminal cases, potentially doubling any resulting sentences.
Luxembourg is the eleventh EU country to present an acion plan at the European Commission demand. Speaking at a press conference with the Luxembourg Primez Minister, Katarina von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish life, stresses the importance ofthe PANAS as she mentioned that nine out of ten Jewish EU citizens currently feel as though antisemitism is once again on the rise.
“Antisemitism has never fully vanished, there was only a time when people knew that they should not say certain things. Now, however, the internet with its means of openly and directly transporting hate offers the chance to say things that people would not even have dared to think before,’’ she said.
Luxembourg’s action plan also commits to implementing EU directives designed to combat online hate.
According to a report in June of RIAL, a research and information body in Luxembourg on antisemitism, the number of antisemitic incidents in the country remains worryingly high. 76 incidents of antisemitic nature were reported, most of them were online incidents.
The largest number of incidents relate to traditional antisemitism, 42 incidents in total, which represents 55% of the incidents in 2022.
“The most important components are ‘World Domination’ attributed to Jews (25%), followed by ‘Demonization of Jews’ with 14%, negative stereotypes (9%) and Jews as scapegoats (7%)”.
In addition, contemporary antisemitism had 28 incidents related to the Holocaust and Israel respectively, and in almost equal shares.
“A particularly painful phenomenon is the conjunction of the two, the trivialization of the Holocaust by putting it in equivalence with a fantasized genocide which would be committed against the Palestinians”, comments RIAL.
Around 1,000 Jews live in Luxembourg out of a total population of 650,000.