EU antisemitism czar: Jews must not grow up behind walls

At Conference of Rabbis, Katharina von Schnurbein laments that future of Europe’s Jews hangs in the balance.

May 9, 2017 14:15
2 minute read.

A man wears a kippa. . (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


AMSTERDAM – “Growing up behind walls is not what Europe is about,” Katharina von Schnurbein, EU coordinator on combating antisemitism, said to rapturous applause on Monday, the first day of the three-day Conference of European Rabbis in Amsterdam, which drew more than 250 rabbis from across the continent.

Referring to a drop in antisemitic attacks in France due to improved security, the European Union official emphasized the importance of bringing perpetrators to justice and of reminding governments of their duties to make their countries safe for all their citizens.

“Things sometimes start with the Jews but they do not stop there. Some turbulence we see in society was experienced by Jewish communities, at least in the last 50 years since the rebuilding of Jewish communities after the Shoah,” von Schnurbein noted.

“Seventy-two years after end of the Shoah, there is a question of whether there is a future in Europe for the Jews,” she continued, remarking this as a major factor that drives her work.

“The goal must be to arrive at a normality. We will address these issues and there will be a future for Jews in Europe and you will be able to live your lives as you want to live them,” she said passionately to the audience. “This is the goal. Fighting antisemitism is fighting for the very soul of your people.”

 EU coordinator on antisemitism Katharina Von Schnurbein (ELI ITIKIN)

Von Schnurbein was tapped as antisemitism “czar” in December 2015, after the EU created the role along with a coordinator to combat anti-Muslim hatred, a position filled by David Friggieri, with whom she works closely.

“When you wear a kippa and you are attacked, or when you wear a head scarf and you are punched in the face, it’s the same fear, the same feeling of insecurity and the same injustice,” von Schnurbein told reporters. “But of course, with antisemitism – this is an ageold hatred that has been here in Europe for so long – and we have to address it.”

Focusing on legislation, she pointed out a law – unique to antisemitism – that specifically criminalizes Holocaust denial and incitement to hatred and violence.

Von Schnurbein also stressed the importance of Internet giants flagging and deleting illegal hate speech within 24 hours. “That’s an important first step,” she said, mentioning Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and YouTube, although she acknowledged there is still work to be done in this area.

“We have all the legislation there already – a hate crime is criminalized. So we have to bring the perpetrators before court,” she reiterated.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

General view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
June 20, 2019
WJC expresses horror over assault of Jewish woman, 79, in Paris


Cookie Settings