EU publishes ‘strategic plan’ for countering antisemitism

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EU flags seen in Brussels, Sept. 24, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. The Berlaymont building is the headquarters of the European Commission. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — The European Union has published what it called a strategic plan for combating antisemitism.

The 26-page document that the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, published Tuesday lists and explains a number of strategies that have been advocated or implemented by various E.U. bodies in recent years.

This includes the recommendation for adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism across the 27-state bloc. Published in 2016, it lists classic examples of antisemitic behavior along with demonization of Israel and denial of the Jewish people’s right to exist as potentially being antisemitic.

Portugal, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Ireland, Denmark, Poland, Croatia and Malta are among the European countries that have so far not adopted the definition.

The Commission will organize “an annual civil society forum on combating antisemitism,” whereas member states are “encouraged to develop national strategies by end of 2022 on combating antisemitism,” the document says.

The Commission will also “increase knowledge and understanding about Jewish life among the general public through an awareness-raising campaign in close cooperation with Jewish communities,” the document states. The various points and suggestions in the plan, which is not binding on member states, will be implemented by 2030, the document says.

The initiative will help police “combat online antisemitic terrorism and violent extremism,” the document added. It also said that E.U. funding that was allocated in 2019 for security as Jewish community sites until 2022 will be extended for the following four years to the tune of about $27 million.

Various E.U. bodies have presented plans to curb the apparent spread of antisemitism in the continent’s west, as it is reflected in rising statistics of antisemitic incidents in Germany, France, the United Kingdom and beyond.

The European Parliament, the Union’s legislative branch, in 2017 passed a nonbinding resolution comprising many points included in the Commission’s strategy paper, including the appointment of national E.U. rapporteurs, which exist only in a handful of members states, and the adoption of the IHRA definition.


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