|For the first time, issue of anti-Semitism dealt with by European Parliament body|
|Written by Yossi Lempkowicz |
BRUSSELS (EJP)---For the first time, an official body of the European Parliament dealt with the issue of rising anti-Semitism in Europe and the need to make the fight against this phenomenon a priority.
The topics were discussed in Brussels at the first meeting this year of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Israel.
‘’Following the recent anti-Semitic attacks and especially the terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, I felt compelled to open an urgent debate in the European parliament on the risk of a new wave of anti-Semitism in Eurpope,’’ said Fulvio Martusciello, the Italian MEP who chairs the delegation.
"The tragic events in recent months show that anti-Semitism remains a security challenge in the European Union. In spite of the prohibition of discrimination on racial, ethnic and religious ground, which is the basis of many international conventions, we see an alarming increase of exclusion, threats and violence,’’ Martusciello said.
‘’This meeting serves to reflect on the measures that the EU can take against these dangerous developments but also provides the ability to stimulate a constructive dialogue to avoid any form of religious radicalization, discrimination and violence against persons or communities".
During the hearing, a senior American Jewish Committee official urged European Parliament members to quickly develop an action plan to confront the rising tide of anti-Semitism in their respective countries and change the reality of Jews living in fear in Europe.
‘’What must come first is the will of European leadership to assure the security and the European future of Europe’s Jews, and to defend the values, the security and the future of Europe as a whole,” Jason Isaacson, AJC Associate Executive Director for Policy, told the European Parlialent delegation for relations with Israel in Brussels.
“Jews throughout the European Union are facing a personal quandary and making wrenching personal decisions” about sending children to Jewish day schools, attending services in synagogues and Jewish communal events, as well as weighing whether to stay or leave their countries of residence,’’ he stressed.
Isaacson called for “an action plan to combat anti-Semitism” to be implemented country by country across Europe. “Heads of state must speak out clearly and sincerely,” said Isaacson, adding that the first step, “already taken by many national leaders, including German Chancellor Merkel and French Prime Minister Valls, is to express at the highest levels that fundamental commitment to fight anti-Semitism.”
“Jewish communities and the general public need to hear directly from European leaders that anti-Semitism violates core European principles and will not be tolerated,” he said, adding that ‘’civil society, including faith leaders must be summoned to carry the message that anti-Semitism is socially, politically and religiously unacceptable.”
‘’European governments should step up and better organize the collection of data on anti-Semitic incidents and perpetrators in order “to know as precisely as possible the dimension and the source of the threat we’re facing,” he said.
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