Under the auspices of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, leaders in the fight against antisemitism are meeting today at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community. The conference, “Working together to fight antisemitism in Europe: Structures and strategies for a holistic approach”, is intended to bring the various stakeholders at EU level together to give new momentum to Europe-wide efforts to stop antisemitism. The conference focuses on current issues such as antisemitic conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic, methodological issues such as collecting statistics on antisemitism incidents in order to develop preventive approaches, and strategies for combating antisemitism at national level.
Horst Seehofer, Federal Minister of the Interior, Building and Community:
The fight against antisemitism is a top priority for Germany and is on the agenda of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. Antisemitism does not stop at national borders and is a challenge for all of Europe. We must take joint and decisive action against antisemitic crimes, Holocaust denial and hate speech.
Dr Felix Klein, Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism:
Every form of antisemitism is incompatible with the values of the European Union and its member states. We hope this conference will create new momentum for the fight against antisemitism across all policy fields and areas of responsibility at European level. We want to mainstream the fight against antisemitism and promote an approach encompassing all of society and all of Europe.
Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission:
Antisemitism has no place in the European Union. Together with the German Presidency of the Council, we are stepping up our efforts to ensure the safety of Jewish communities, counter the surge of antisemitic conspiracy myths online and invest in education, awareness-raising and research. The fight for normality of Jewish life requires concerted efforts by all Members States. It is a litmus test for Europe in upholding our values and our diversity.
Dr Ludwig Spaenle, Bavarian State Government Commissioner for Jewish Life and against Antisemitism, for Remembrance and Historical Heritage:
The Bavarian government sent a strong signal by adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism in May 2019. We have invited institutions, associations and unions to follow our example and adopt the IHRA definition as well. This has launched a broad public debate, and some 70 associations and institutions have now discussed and adopted this definition. It is essential that we put the fight against antisemitism on the broadest possible footing.
Today’s conference is jointly hosted by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community, the Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism, and the Bavarian State Government Commissioner for Jewish Life and against Antisemitism, for Remembrance and Historical Heritage.
In addition to European Commission Vice-President Schinas, participants include Katharina von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator on combating antisemitism; the antisemitism commissioners of the 27 EU member states and of Germany’s 16 federal states; Holger Münch, President of Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office; Dr Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany; and civil-society experts in the field.