Why we need to work together and with others to combat anti-Semitism and hatred of all kinds

Why we need to work together and with others to combat anti-Semitism and hatred of all kinds

Why we need to work together and with others to combat anti-Semitism and hatred of all kinds

The double-whammy attacks in Paris and Copenhagen earlier this year demonstrated that terrorism and anti-Semitism often go together. Jewish communities have been highlighting this reality for years with limited success, and the attacks in Toulouse and Brussels were not enough to drive this connection home for many Europeans. Now it is clear that the security of Europe, with its democratic values and fundamental rights, is totally interwoven with the security of Jewish people. The fertility of European soil to anti-democratic ideas, policies and practices – either from extremists or from those propagating violence in the name of Islam – must be addressed. Our political leaders are finally starting to move beyond symbolic declarations. They want to know what strategies can work in combatting the vicious cycle of hatred.

This is precisely why the European Parliament held a hearing on June 29th and why the European Commission is focusing its first high-level Colloquium on Fundamental Rights this October 1-2, 2015 on the issues of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim hatred.

Most of us would have preferred to address both forms of hatred separately, if only because they both deserve more thorough discussions. Still, this is an important opportunity to engage with policy-makers and other civil society organisations on the strategies which can be effective to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred which exist in Europe. It is an opportunity for recognition, dialogue and new partnerships that can influence a variety of areas of life, including: protection from, as well as monitoring of, hate crime and hate speech, education, employment and social cohesion policies.

Europe needs more people, and not only more Jews, to stand up against anti-Semitism, reduce bullying in schools, respond to and prevent hate crime, and appreciate the Jewish contribution to the fabric of European culture.

This political moment in time is an important one for Jewish communities and our future in Europe. It is time for us to come together as Jewish communities, and with non-Jewish communities, to take care of our shared societies, as Europeans.

“If I am not for myself, then who is for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?
(Rabbi Hillel)

 

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Robin Sclafani

About Robin Sclafani

Director of CEJI-A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe

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