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EU publishes handbook on how to fight antisemitism

Credit: Yad Vashem Online

The European Commission published on Friday a handbook on fighting antisemitism in the EU with examples of good practices and types of antisemitic incidents in the member states.

The handbook was published jointly with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), with support from the recent German Presidency of the EU. The IHRA working definition for antisemitism, while not legally binding, has become a widely used tool around the world to educate people about antisemitism, as well as recognise and counter its manifestations.

The handbook follows EU declarations last December on stepping up the fight against antisemitism in all its forms and applying the IHRA definition which already has been endorsed by 18 member states.

“We need to fight antisemitism whenever we encounter it. Jewish life is part of our societies and we are determined to protect it. This new handbook makes it easier for all to fulfil this commitment. It responds to our Member States’ requests for better knowledge-sharing on the use of the IHRA definition,” Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said.

The 35 good practices in the handbook are ranging from training for law enforcement to incident recording and reporting. Furthermore, the handbook includes 22 sourced incidents of antisemitism in Europe that highlight the relevance of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism when assessing manifestations of antisemitism.

The definition can help police, prosecutors and judges to better recognise antisemitism and antisemitic crimes. It also makes a useful distinguishment between legitimate criticism and attacks against Israel that might be fuelled by antisemitism and antisemitic stereotypes.

The list of such examples in the new handbook includes denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, accusing Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust, drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, and applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

The Commission also plans to adopt a comprehensive EU Strategy against antisemitism this year.

M. Apelblat
The Brussels Times