World Jewish Congress welcomes EU’s decision to fight against antisemitism

The Council of the European Union’s declaration calls antisemitism “an attack on European values."

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder (photo credit: NOA GRAYEVSKY)
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder
(photo credit: NOA GRAYEVSKY)
The World Jewish Congress welcomed the Council of the European Union’s adoption today of its declaration to mainstream the prevention and countering of antisemitism in all its forms. 
The declaration calls antisemitism “an attack on European values,” reading: “Any form of antisemitism, intolerance or racist hatred is incompatible with the values and aims of the European Union and its Member States and must be addressed through decisive action at a European and national level.”
As part of its ongoing work to combat antisemitism, the World Jewish Congress has worked closely with European government authorities and institutions, as well as Jewish communities across the continent, to emphasize the importance of EU leadership in this area, resulting in the development of the declaration. 
This critical step comes under the leadership of the German presidency of the Council. The Council of the European Union is comprised of government ministers from the 27 EU Member States, who meet to make laws and coordinate policies. The ministers have the authority to commit their governments to the actions agreed upon by the Council, the main decision-making body of the EU. The declaration makes the fight against antisemitism a priority of Europe’s executive branch.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder welcomed the declaration: “Europe has a serious and terrifying antisemitism problem, and it’s high time that the European Union, its Member States, and local authorities direct real resources to it. The adoption of this declaration by the Council of the European Union demonstrates that Germany, in its Council presidency and the EU leadership as a whole, recognize the danger that antisemitism and hate create and the threat to society and safety when left unaddressed. 
“This declaration is a significant step forward in making Europe a better place for Jews. The responsibility now falls on Member States to apply the policies and understanding laid out by the European Union in each of their countries, to ensure that the scourge of antisemitism is dealt with, that perpetrators are prosecuted to the greatest extent of the law, and that our next generation learns that hatred is unacceptable.”
The declaration affirms that it is Member States’ “permanent, shared responsibility to actively protect and support Jewish life.” It acknowledges the increasing prevalence of antisemitism in Europe, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that “an increase in antisemitic incidents and hate crime is a cause of great concern.” The declaration calls on Member States to engage in “continuous dialogue with the Jewish community with a view to ensuring appropriate levels of security awareness, specific training for security staff and law enforcement officers, exchange of best practices and thorough implementation of appropriate measures to ensure the security of Jewish institutions.”
Regarding the growth of antisemitic hate speech, particularly its dissemination online, “crimes committed online should be punished just as crimes offline are and must be adequately addressed by means of effective prosecution and other measures,” the declaration reads. “Illegal hate speech and terrorist content online must be removed promptly and consistently by internet service providers, in according with the relevant legal and non-legal framework.”
The declaration also calls for the systematic collection of data on antisemitic incidents so as to “develop, implement and monitor progress on tailored comprehensive strategies and education instruments,” and for increased Holocaust education as “one of the most important tools to prevent antisemitic prejudices.”
The European Council is expected to formally adopt the declaration at its December 10-11 meeting.