With anti-Semitism continuing to rise to dangerous levels in Europe, the European Union has released its first ever strategy on combating anti-Semitism and enabling Jewish communities to live in safety.
The measure – “Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life” – lays out three planks to enable Jewish communities to thrive in the EU: prevent all forms of anti-Semitism; protect and fosters Jewish life; and promote Holocaust research, education and remembrance.
The plan details setting up partnerships with tech companies to fight online anti-Semitism, increasing protection of public spaces and synagogues, and creating a European research center to study modern anti-Semitism with satellite centers at sites associated with the Holocaust.
The mandate will be run concurrently with new EU efforts to combat anti-Semitism internationally.
“Today we commit to fostering Jewish life in Europe in all its diversity,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. “We want to see Jewish life thriving again in the heart of our communities. This is how it should be.”
Von der Leyen added: “The Strategy we are presenting today is a step change in how we respond to anti-Semitism. Europe can only prosper when its Jewish communities feel safe and prosper.”
Noting that anti-Semitism is “incompatible with EU values and with our European way of life,” Margaritis Schinas, EU vice-president for promoting our European way of life, called the plan “the first of its kind.”
“[It] is our commitment to combat it in all its forms and to ensure a future for Jewish life in Europe and beyond,” Schinas said. “We owe it to those who perished in the Holocaust, we owe it to the survivors and we owe it to future generations.”
The plan states that “anti-Semitism is incompatible with Europe’s core values.”
Anti-Semitism “represents a threat not only to Jewish communities and to Jewish life, but to an open and diverse society, to democracy and the European way of life. The European Union is determined to put an end to it,” the document says.
With the rise in anti-Semitic incidents across Europe in the last few years, concurrent with a decrease in the Jewish population, the measure proclaims that the EU is “determined to significantly step up the fight against anti-Semitism.”
It adds that “this strategy also seeks to place the EU firmly in the lead of the global fight against anti-Semitism.”
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid responded to the publication of new strategy and wrote:
I congratulate the European Union for presenting a comprehensive strategy for combatting antisemitism and strengthening Jewish life in Europe.
This step reflects a commitment not only to the fight against the ugly phenomenon of antisemitism, but also to the security of the Jewish community.
This strategy is an important pillar in the fight against antisemitism, the promotion of education amongst the young generation, and Holocaust remembrance.
I look forward to strengthening cooperation between Israel and the European Union on this topic.