European Jewish Congress
US says Europe needs 'working definition' of Antisemitism
EJC in the Media
US says Europe needs 'working definition' of Antisemitism

The US encouraged governments to adopt a working definition of antisemitism while condemning the conflation of Diaspora Jewry with the State of Israel, during an international forum in Berlin this week.

Speaking at the third Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism in Berlin on Tuesday, State Department Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Ira Forman welcomed the European Commission’s recent move to appoint its first coordinator on combating Antisemitism and called upon individual member states to follow the continental body’s example.

 

Explaining that Antisemitism is “evolving into new, contemporary forms of hatred, racism, and political, social, and cultural discrimination against Jews,” Forman lamented that “one virulent aspect is... conflating Jewish communities with Israel, using criticism of Israel as a pretext for Antisemitism.”


Citing several occasions in which apparently Antisemitic incidents were downplayed as being merely anti-Israel, including the scrawling of swastikas in Sweden and the firebombing of a synagogue in Germany, Forman said that it is vital to “define Antisemitism clearly to more effectively combat it.”

While the issue in indeed complex, Forman stated, there is a line between criticism of Israeli policy and questioning the state’s right to exist. As such, he continued, the United States “encourage[s] European governments to adopt a working definition of Antisemitism, ideally one which would include a section on how Antisemitism relates to Israel, to improve the safety and well-being of Jewish communities in Europe.”

In 2013 the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights dropped a definition of Antisemitism from its website, eliciting harsh criticism from Israel and Jewish communities worldwide.

At the time the Jewish Telegraphic Agency quoted a spokeswoman for the organization as saying that she was “not aware of any official definition,” prompting Ioannis N. Dimitrakopoulos, the head of the FRA’s Equality and Citizens’ Rights Department, to tell The Jerusalem Post that his organization’s critics misunderstood the move, saying the definition was “basically a guide to collectors of primary data.”

“We don’t collect incidents and we don’t receive complaints,” he said, explaining that “what we do is we apply whatever definition is applied by the primary data collectors.

“We don’t have a mandate to develop [and] impose, in any way, definitions. We cannot provide a measure based on which people will assess how one Jewish organization records incidents in one country versus a Jewish organization in another country versus a police authority in a third country versus a civil society organization in a fourth country,” he said.

Prior to this week’s conference Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, called for just such a definition, stating that it is unacceptable that the “perpetrators of Antisemitism are attempting to define it and its boundaries.”

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post

Friday, March 18, 2016
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President's Page Security and Crisis Centre by EJC European Parliament Working Group On Antisemitism