European parliaments’ speakers sign declaration against anti-Semitism

Cnaan Liphshiz

PRAGUE (JTA) — Speakers from 29 European parliaments signed a declaration against anti-Semitism.

The signing on Tuesday, International Holocaust Memorial Day, came at the end of a roundtable discussion of 30 speakers at Prague Castel during a commemoration event organized by the Czech government and the European Jewish Congress titled “Let My People Live.”

The Turkish delegation did not sign the final document, organizers said.

“Contemporary examples of Anti-Semitism in public life include the distortion or denial of the Holocaust with the intention of hurting Jews around the world and the State of Israel,” the statement read. “It is imperative that parliaments, governments, international organizations and civil societies around the world adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards these phenomena.”

“Only the Turkish delegation withheld their support for the declaration; the Roundtable of Speakers noted that in the protocol,” an EJC representative said. The discussion ahead of the signing was held behind closed doors.

The declaration is part of a plan presented in 2012 at the European Union by EJC President Moshe Kantor. The plan, presented in the form of model law on the boundaries of tolerance, is designed to delineate legal action in light of “anti-Semitism, racism and attempts to limit freedom of worship in Europe,” Kantor said.

Under the model bill, “migrants who refuse to learn the local language may face deportation due to their unwillingness to integrate,” said Yoram Dinstein, one of the documents’ co-authors and an Israeli expert in international law.

Speaking at a debate panel Tuesday, Dinstein said European parliaments should enact legislation that makes it possible to prosecute any offense also as a hate crime if warranted by the circumstances.

He cited the Nov. 30 rape of a woman in the Paris suburb of Creteil at a house that French authorities said was targeted by three robbers because it belonged to Jews.

“Years ago, I would have said that rape cannot be considered a hate crime, but now we know the opposite to be true,” Dinstein said.