European Council adopts measures to tackle racism, anti-Semitism

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European Union flags in front of the European Commission in Brussels. Credit: Symbiot/Shutterstock.

“The conclusions demonstrate that France and the entire leadership of the European Union recognize the danger that anti-Semitism poses to the Jewish people and society at large,” said World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder.

The European Council recently announced measures it will adopt to combat racism and anti-Semitism, which include urging social-media companies to remove racist and anti-Semitic hate speech and adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism.

These efforts, which are officially called “conclusions,” also call on European Union member states to strengthen the ability of their national and judicial authorities to prosecute illegal online racist and anti-Semitic hate crime and hate speech, including by establishing national online monitoring centers and platforms where people can report hateful content.

Member states were also called on to raise awareness about the fight against racism and anti-Semitism “by upholding the duty to remember the victims of racist and anti-Semitic violence and hate crimes, including educating on the historic and contemporary expressions of racism, slavery, as well as on the Holocaust and how anti-Semitism led to it.”

The council is urging member states to develop their own action plans and strategies by the end of 2022 as outlined in the 2020 European Union anti-racism action plan and the 2021 E.U. strategy on combating anti-Semitism and fostering Jewish life adopted by the European Commission in October 2021.

“The just-released conclusions demonstrate that France and the entire leadership of the European Union recognize the danger that anti-Semitism poses to the Jewish people and society at large,” said Lauder. “We must never be passive or negligent in combating anti-Semitism or any other form of bigotry.”

He added that “as anti-Semitism continues to surge across Europe … the council’s commitment to fighting the world’s oldest hatred is more critical than ever.”

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