New York – The World Jewish Congress today welcomed the adoption of a declaration by the Council of the European Union on the fight against antisemitism and the development of a common security approach to protect Jewish communities and institutions in Europe.
The declaration, agreed by ministers of interior from the 28 EU Member States at today's meeting of the Council of the European Union, calls on EU Member States to take steps to ensure security for Jewish communities, institutions, and citizens; to emphasize the importance of Holocaust commemoration and education; calls on all EU member states which have not already done so to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism in the fields of law enforcement, education and training; and calls on the European Commission and Europol to pay particular attention to online antisemitism and to content advocating antisemitic terrorist offenses.
The WJC has worked closely for many months with the Austrian government authorities and the European institutions, in close coordination with the Austrian Jewish Community and the European Jewish Congress, in developing the declaration’s content. WJC representatives also held over 100 meetings with representatives of EU member states and EU officials and also testified before the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Council so as to emphasize and explain the critical importance of the declaration’s adoption.
WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said: “I strongly welcome the decision by the Council of the European Union to adopt this important declaration on the fight against antisemitism and the protection of Jewish communities. Just days after polling revealed that antisemitism continues to haunt Europe, and with the memory of the Holocaust fading, this declaration is a clear recognition by the governments of all EU Member States that serious action, both politically and practically, is needed to deal with the clear and specific challenges posed by this ancient hatred. We look forward to continuing to engage with both the EU institutions and the governments of the EUMember States to inform this serious work going forward.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz for the leadership he has shown on this issue – this declaration will serve as an important point of reference in the years to come. I hope that the European Council will now also appoint a Coordinator on Combatting Antisemitism, to follow up on this important first step. Jewish citizens of Europe have the right to the same sense of security and wellbeing as any other European citizens.”