An Israeli flag flies outside the EU building last month
An Israeli flag flies outside the EU building last monthSpokesperson

The European Commission has released a statement condemning the recent rise in antisemitic incidents across the continent amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

"The spike of antisemitic incidents across Europe has reached extraordinary levels in the last few days, reminiscent of some of the darkest times in history. European Jews today are again living in fear," the statement opens.

It adds: "We have seen a resurgence of antisemitic incidents and rhetoric in the European Union and worldwide: Molotov cocktails thrown on a synagogue in Germany, stars of David sprayed on residential buildings in France, a Jewish cemetery desecrated in Austria, Jewish stores and synagogues attacked in Spain, demonstrators chanting hate slogans against Jews."

The statement goes on to declare: "In these difficult times, the EU stands by its Jewish communities. We condemn these despicable acts in the strongest possible terms. They go against everything that Europe stands for. Against our core values and our way of life.

Against the model of society, we represent: one based on equality, inclusiveness, and the full respect of human rights. Jewish, Muslim, Christian – no one should live in fear of discrimination or violence because of their religion or their identity. The EU is determined to protect the wellbeing of all its communities, ethnic, religious or other."

It continues, "We have to push back against this rise in antisemitism, as well as the rise in anti-Muslim hatred that we have been witnessing over the past weeks – which has no place in Europe. We already have powerful tools at our disposal to address such incidents: EU law criminalizes public incitement to hatred and violence and sets out a common approach to tackling racist and xenophobic hate speech and hate crimes.

Ensuring its rigorous enforcement is now more imperative than ever. And since 2021, the European Union has in place its first-ever comprehensive strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, as well as 2020 an EU anti-racism action plan.

In cooperation with Member States, we will continue to step up security measures. We have already increased EU funding to protect places of worship and other premises and are working to make more support available. In parallel, we are stepping up the enforcement of relevant legislation to ensure online platforms react swiftly and effectively to antisemitic or anti-Muslim content online, be it terrorist content, hate speech or disinformation."

The statement concludes: "It is our shared responsibility as Europeans to call out hate in all its forms and stand up against it."