An European Union flag is lowered at half-mast in honor of the victims of the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, outside the EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, July 15, 2016. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The European Parliament on Thursday voted in favor of a resolution endorsing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, drawing praise from Jewish groups.
The resolution calls on EU Member States and the EU institutions and agencies to adopt and apply the working definition of antisemitism. The text urges members to: protect their Jewish citizens and Jewish institutions from hate crime and hate speech; support law enforcement efforts to identify and prosecute antisemitic attacks; appoint national coordinators on combating antisemitism; systematically and publicly condemn antisemitic statements; to promote education about the Holocaust in schools; and to review school textbooks to ensure that content about Jewish history and contemporary Jewish life stay clear of antisemitism.
“This is a monumental day for the fight against hate and the protection of the rights of European Jews,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the EJC, said. “For too long, Jews were deemed unique, with hate defined by the perpetrators and not by the victims.”
“The only people who will be dismayed by this decision are those who wish to continue the culture of antisemitic impunity and who believe that Jews should not be afforded protection under the law.”
The AJC Transatlantic Institute also lauded the result of the vote.
“The European Parliament must be applauded for taking this significant step toward fighting all forms of anti-Jewish hatred, including the variety that tries to hide its ugly face behind a false veneer of respectability– so-called legitimate criticism of Israel that in reality questions the very legitimacy of the Jewish state,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute.
“Those who falsely claim the working definition limits freedom of expression are demanding the freedom to deny the Jewish people the right granted to every other people, the right to self-determination–in other words they claim the freedom to engage in anti-Semitism. Parliament has told these people today loud and clearly that this house will not tolerate anti-Semitism, whether in the open or in disguise.”
The IHRA formulated the definition last May amid concerns of rising antisemitism, in an effort to clamp down on discriminatory or prejudicial behavior that might fall between the cracks due to unclear or differing definitions of antisemitism.
The definition adopted by the group’s 31 member countries reads: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
So far, the UK, Austria, Romania and Israel have adopted the definition.