At EESC session, WJC calls on EU Member states to implement EU Strategy on combating antisemitism “without delay” - World Jewish Congress

At EESC session, WJC calls on EU Member states to implement EU Strategy on combating antisemitism “without delay”

At EESC session, WJC calls on EU Member states to implement EU Strategy on combating antisemitism “without delay”

Leon Saltiel, WJC’s Coordinator on Countering Antisemitism, in addressing members of the European Union’s European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), called for EU member states to implement the first-ever EU Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life “without delay” during a special discussion on antisemitism and freedom of religion.  

“As the world’s ’oldest hatred,’ antisemitism exposes the failings in each society. Jews are often the first group to be scapegoated but, unfortunately, they are not the last. Indeed, history has shown that hateful discourse that starts with the Jews expands to other members of society,” Saltiel lamented.  “In this respect, antisemitism does not primarily target the Jews, who numerically are a small minority in Europe. Rather, if left unchecked, antisemitism impacts the wider population, as it enables prejudice and active discrimination within societies in general, threatening modern democracies, the rule of law and the achievement of human rights protection.” 

During the session, EESC External Affairs President Dimitris Dimitriadis raised the alarm about mounting antisemitism across Europe, noting that such bigotry doesn’t only threaten Jews, but the European ideals and fundamental freedoms upon which the European Union was founded.  

Other speakers included Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and Professor Joël Kotek of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, who described the origins and characteristics of the phenomenon and warned that, if unchecked, antisemitism can pose serious dangers to democracy and the rule of law. 

Ákos Topolánszky, who served as EESC rapporteur for the Committee’s opinion SOC/704 on the European strategy to combat antisemitism—a document that contains many important recommendations for European civil society to combat antisemitism—also addressed the EESC.  

To learn more about the European Economic and Social Committee session click here.