Extremism: Europe and US: Step up fight against anti-Semitism

Europe and USA: Step up the fight against anti-Semitism

The kippah, the traditional religious head covering worn by Jewish men. photo

© Boris Roessler/dpa

Antisemitism is a global problem. Several European countries and the USA now want to work together more closely in the fight against this. A big topic has already been identified.

Several European countries, the EU Commission and the USA want to work together to counteract anti-Semitic attitudes and violence. After a meeting with his counterparts in Berlin, the federal government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein, said: “Attacks on synagogues, attacks on Jewish people, on students – these were also the topics we exchanged about”. The situation is different in each country, but the problem is the same. Therefore, one must network more closely and meet more often to talk about best practice examples.

The European Commission’s Anti-Semitism Commissioner, Katharina von Schnurbein, described the meeting as “an important step towards intensifying the close cooperation between the EU and the USA in the global fight against anti-Semitism”. The date, January 30, was deliberately chosen, according to Klein. On this day 90 years ago, the National Socialists under the leadership of Adolf Hitler had seized power in Germany.

“Hate knows no borders today”

A major problem that the countries want to tackle together is anti-Semitic hate speech on the Internet. “Hate knows no borders today,” said the US special envoy for the fight against anti-Semitism, Deborah Lipstadt, according to the statement. “An anti-Semitic post in one country can spark violence across oceans, and events in one country are all too easy to imitate in another.”

Klein said he and his colleagues discussed which structures could be set up to counteract this. For example, international legal instruments have been considered. However, there are no definitive proposals yet. Representatives from Romania, Austria and Israel also took part in the meeting. Klein’s colleagues from France, Croatia and Greece had also agreed – but then had to cancel due to illness.

At the meeting, the US representatives also learned about national policies against anti-Semitism because, according to Klein, they are currently drafting such a plan themselves. That’s why the husband of US Vice President Kamala Harris, Douglas Emhoff, also attended. Klein said that he was a Jew and wanted to take special care of this issue during his wife’s tenure.

In Germany there has been such a strategy against anti-Semitism since the end of November. “It puts us in a position to finally take a holistic approach to combating and preventing hatred of Jews,” said Klein. The aim of the paper is to better protect Jews from prejudice and hatred and to strengthen Jewish life. This should have a systematic effect on all levels of government and society – from the police and judiciary to schools and universities to sports clubs.


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