Spain declares increased commitment to fight antisemitism after WJC meets with King Felipe VI

World Jewish Congress follow-up report on Malmö Forum outlines urgency for concrete actions that reflect realities of Jewish life.

 Members of the WJC Executive Committee together with H.M. the King of Spain Felipe VI  (photo credit: WJC/Shahar Azran)
Members of the WJC Executive Committee together with H.M. the King of Spain Felipe VI
(photo credit: WJC/Shahar Azran)

The World Jewish Congress on Tuesday issued a critical report outlining European governments’ progress in developing action plans to tackle antisemitism. The report was shared ahead of meetings in Madrid with the King of Spain His Majesty Felipe VI and the country’s Foreign Ministry.

“We have seen too many times throughout history that people will come together, say all the right things, make the right commitments, but fall short on the follow-through,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder. “The truly hard work is the actual implementation of good ideas.” 

The report tracks initiatives that emerged from the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism in October 2021, when nations focused on concrete steps to counter antisemitism and other forms of hatred and worked to advance Holocaust education and remembrance. 

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder (Credit: WJC/Shahar Azran)WJC President Ronald S. Lauder (Credit: WJC/Shahar Azran)

Leaders from 35% of the Jewish communities that took part in the report said their governments had established an adequate legislative framework to prosecute antisemitic hate-speech and crimes. Yet just 22% said pledges made in Malmö were relevant for their actual needs, while 16% claimed that the pledges had been completely implemented. 

Spain, which last month approved a national plan to implement the European Strategy to Combat Antisemitism for 2023-2030, will assume the presidency of the Council of the European Union on July 1. 

Credit: WJC/Shahar AzranCredit: WJC/Shahar Azran

“As Spain prepares to take the reins of the presidency of the EU Council, it is essential that it capitalizes on recent efforts by the international community to develop concrete actions to support and strengthen Jewish communities as they face rising antisemitism,” said Amb. Lauder, adding, “The history of Jews in Spain is complex, filled with remarkable achievements but also deep sorrow and exile. Spain has an opportunity to write a new chapter in its relationship with the Jewish people.”