On Monday, The European Union’s Ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, together with the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, hosted an event commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The event was attended by Prof. Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University, Itzhak Herzog, Chairman of the Jewish Agency, and Prof. Dina Porat, together with ambassadors of the European Union member states.
Monday's event is one of a series of events taking place in Israel and in Europe to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. EU events to commemorate this day take place in Brussels, including an annual training seminar by the European Commission on "The Holocaust and Fundamental Rights" in cooperation with the House of the Wannsee Conference.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an international memorial day designated by the United Nations on 27 January to commemorate the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War. It is dedicated to remembering the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jewish people, as well as Roma, mentally and physically disabled people, and homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. It marks the day of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and death camp.
EU Ambassador Emanuele Giaufret said: "In addition to the millions murdered in the Shoah, there were also millions who were nearly murdered, maimed, traumatized, orphaned and humiliated. It is always a humbling honor for me to speak with survivors, learn from them, and we will continue to do so. We should never forget that Holocaust remembrance is fundamental in the fight against anti-Semitism. The rise of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe and the impact it has on the daily life of our Jewish citizens is a grave concern, and we need to also address it including by improving education on the Holocaust. That is why in particular the European Union decided to acquire Permanent International Partner status with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in November 2018. This commitment begins with protecting and safeguarding the freedoms of our living European Jewish communities and citizens. This responsibility belongs to our governments and citizens, and we will ‘never again’ abandon the Jews to suffer this alone."
In response to a request by the European Commission, the Fundamental Rights Agency published, in December 2018, the largest survey ever held among European Jews on their perception and experience of anti-Semitism. The survey found that 9 out of 10 European Jews feel anti-Semitism has increased over the past five years and that anti-Semitism is having an impact on the daily lives of European Jews throughout the EU. The survey will serve as a basis for further fact-based policy making to counter anti-Semitism. On 6 December 2018, the European Council unanimously adopted a declaration on the fight against anti-Semitism and the development of a common security approach amongst EU member states to better protect Jewish communities and institutions.
The European Commission has pushed a range of actions to combat anti-Semitism, such as monitoring how European legislation combating anti-Semitism is implemented, and guiding Member States on how to tackle anti-Semitic hate crime and hate speech.
In 2015, First-Vice President Timmermans and Commissioner Jourová appointed a Commission Coordinator on combating anti-Semitism to liaise with Jewish communities and strengthen the collaboration with international organizations, Member States' authorities and NGOs.
In May 2016 the European Commission concluded a Code of Conduct with IT companies to take down illegal hate speech and created a High-level expert group to improve recording of hate crime across the EU.
In January 2017 Commissioner Jourová endorsed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition on anti-Semitism as a useful tool for educational purposes in countering anti-Semitism.
The European Union also acquired Permanent International Partner status with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in November 2018.
On 6 December 2018, the European Council unanimously adopted a declaration on the fight against antisemitism and the development of a common security approach amongst EU member states to better protect Jewish communities and institutions.
Upon request of the European Commission, the Fundamental Rights Agency published, on 10 December 2018, the largest survey ever held among European Jews on their perception and experience of anti-Semitism. The survey will serve as a basis for further fact-based policy making to counter anti-Semitism.
The 12th EU – Israel High Level Seminar on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Antisemitism took place in Brussels in December 2018.