By TPS • 25 February, 2020
European Parliament Member Antonio López-Istúriz has warned of growing anti-Semitism in Europe and called on national and European authorities to implement effective and mandatory measures to combat xenophobia and racism.
Speaking on Monday in Paris at the Annual Conference of the European Jewish Association, entitled “The Jews in Europe: United for a Better Future”, López-Istúriz, Secretary-General of the European People’s Party (EPP) and Chairman of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Israel, said that “modern Anti-Semitism appears in many different forms and is not always easy to identify. Anti-Semitism is not only justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of radical ideology; it also entails dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or about the alleged influence of Jews as a collective.”
López-Istúriz further warned about the danger of online dissemination of anti-Semitic content, “At the European Parliament we are working with the Council to address this issue and we hope to have a text ready very soon,” he said.
In his speech, López-Istúriz called for cooperation between local, national and European Union (EU) authorities in working with Jewish communities, and he urged the new European Commission to apply clear legislation with follow-up of the results in all Member States.
“In recent years, the EU has adopted a series of measures to fight anti-Semitism, but these have obviously not achieved the expected results. The good news is that the new president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has pledged to fight anti-Semitism with new legislation and new policies. Anti-Semitism has for the first time been formally included as part of a Commissioner’s portfolio,” he said.
López-Istúriz denounced the fact that the discourse of radical extremist parties, from both the extreme right and extreme left, are contributing to the propagation of radical positions vis-à-vis Israel and Jews.
He mentioned initiatives like ELAI (Israel Apartheid Free Zones) in the context of the international BDS movement, promoted by the government parties Unidas Podemos and PSOE in 58 left-wing city halls throughout Spain.
“These measures are discriminatory and unconstitutional”, said López-Istúriz. “They are a serious attack on human rights. It is inconceivable that such aggressions come from political representatives whose mandate is to defend and protect all people’s rights and interests.”
“Hate speech and all types of violence against Jewish citizens are incompatible with EU values,” he said. As positive examples, he mentioned the new Jewish Museum being prepared in Madrid as well as the Spanish nationality law for Sephardic Jews passed in 2015.
López-Istúriz insisted on education as a means of preventing anti-Semitic attitudes, recalling that anti-Semitism is an international phenomenon. He cited a study revealing that 85 percent of European Jews consider anti-Semitism the first cause of social concern in their country, and almost 40 percent have considered emigrating because they don’t feel safe.