Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Launch of online petition against antisemitism in Europe
Strasbourg, February 11, 2020
Today several members of the European Parliament have come together to support and launch the online petition Stop Antisemitism in Europe which can be found at stopantisemitism.eu
The petition was initiated by the European Christian Political Movement as a response to the rise in hate crimes and harassment of Jews in Europe over the last few years.
The petition is asking for the following:
1. Special attention to preventing and combating all forms of anti-Semitism in combating discrimination, racism and xenophobia.
2. Member States' endorsement of the working definition used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
3. Everything needed to guarantee the safety of Jewish communities, institutions and citizens, including taking security measures where necessary.
4. Increasing the willingness to report to authorities when an incident happens and removing experienced barriers to do so.
5. Take appropriate measures against hate crimes and incitement to violence or hatred against Jewish people.
6. Attention in education given to the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and the centuries-long history of Jews in Europe and the diversity and vitality of the Jewish community.
Peter van Dalen, MEP (EPP) opened the event by providing specific examples of antisemitism like the attack of the synagogue in Halle (Germany), the defacing of Jewish tombstones in Dordrecht (The Netherlands) and the murder of Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll in France.
Helmut Geuking, MEP (ECR) emphatically affirmed that “antisemitism has no place in today’s society and that it is our duty to counteract those voices on the far-right who not only promote antisemitism in a veiled way, they openly stir it up and target Jews with their hate”. Furthermore, he presented statistics which indicated a lack of knowledge or awareness about the Holocaust and its horrors.
The phenomenon was further condemned by Bert-Jan Ruissen, MEP (ECR) who said that “it is a shame we have to take safety measures around synagogues and schools; it is a shame that we have to still talk about antisemitism, that we have to start an online petition against it. But we must. Because, unfortunately, our society is much less modern and tolerant than we had hoped it would be by now.”
The special guest of the event, Mendel Samama, Rabbi of the Jewish Community in Strasbourg and representative for the EU institutions, defended the Jewish values and culture and their rightful place in Europe. He said that “the fight against antisemitism since the creation of the European institutions is not just a fight like any other, it is a major value and its ‘raison d’ être’.”
In addition to the MEPs mentioned above, the speakers also included vice-presidents of European Parliament Nicola Beer (Renew) who will be the next chairwoman of the EP working group on antisemitism and Othmar Karas (EPP).
The event concluded with the presentation of the website and an encouragement for everyone to sign the petition and become part of this fight against the terrible phenomenon of antisemitism.