BRUSSELS –Romania, the country which currently holds the presidency of the European Unoion Council, wanted to show that it is on the forefront of the fight against anti-Semitism in Europe by organizing last week in the European Parliament in Brussels a conference titled ‘’The fight against anti-Semitism. A common approach to better protect Jewish communities in Europe, from policy to action.’’
The conference saw top world Jewish leaders, members o the European parliament, EU officials and experts share ideas about how to develop an efficient policy to combat rising antisemitism beyond statements, in order to ensure a ”normal” Jewish life in Europe.
The conference came two months after a declaration by the 28 EU Interior and Justice Ministers calling on member states to take steps to ensure security for Jewish communities, institutions, and citizens, and to emphasize the importance of Holocaust commemoration and education. It also urges EU member states to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism in the fields of law enforcement, education and training, and implores the European Commission and Europol to pay particular attention to online antisemitism and incitement.
Opening the conference, Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila stressed that her country ‘’is a regional role model in fighting antisemitism and xenophobia. And a role model regarding education and measures taken to remember the Holocaust.”
Next month, Romania will host an event in Bucharest to talk about Holocaust remembrance inter alia.
In his address to the conference, European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau former extermination camp last month, denounced the fact that today hatred is becoming a political tool.
‘’Antisemitism is the virus that kills us. ’We have to responsibility to fight it. Fighting antisemitism is the only remedy to stay healthy.,’’ he said.
‘’I make the pledge to you that I will continue to work on concrete proposals because for me Europe is unimaginable without the Jewish community feeling at ease, happy and safe in our society,’’ he added.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said: ‘’The reason we are here today is the resurgence of the age-old hatred of Jews here in Europe, once again. Is this just another cycle? Did Europe give the Jewish people a reprieve after the world was so horrified by those photographs of the skeletal bodies at Dachau and Bergen Belsen and Auschwitz? There are important lessons that we need to remember from the past, because I believe there are direct links to the growing antisemitism that we see today.’’
The Holocaust, Lauder noted, was not just German – it was a European event. “Practically every single country on this continent, with just a few exceptions, helped the Germans round up their Jewish citizens, or conveniently looked the other way, and that is just as dangerous… All of you here in this room are leaders. We must lead by example… and we must never show indifference.”
He continued : ‘’We must all work together to stop antisemitism. We must all work together to make Europe once again the center of human advancement. We must do this for our children’s sake. We must do this for the future of Europe. We must do this for the entire world.”
‘’In the UN today, bias against the world’s only Jewish state runs rampant, Lauder said, and across Europe antisemites and neo-Nazis are gaining steam without repercussion.’’