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  01 December 2020  

Combating antisemitism

and fostering Jewish life

Newsletter Nr. 1

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ABOUT
One year: The von der Leyen Commission and the fight against antisemitism
It has been one year since President Ursula von der Leyen took office and the European Commission has made progress in the fight against racism, discrimination and antisemitism, by putting forward a series of strategies and ambitious goals for a safer and stronger Europe for all citizens. The President entrusted Vice-President Margaritis Schinas to lead the Commission’s fight against antisemitism. In order to support him in his efforts, she also enlarged the team of the Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life. Moreover, in September 2020 the Commission published its plan to step up action against racism in the European Union and announced the appointment of a coordinator on combating racism. To mark this year, with its challenges and achievements, we are happy to launch the first edition of this Newsletter. The current edition covers the latest policy developments, events and activities as well as news from September until the 1st of December.
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See also First year of the von der Leyen Commission
POLICY DEVELOPMENTS
Upcoming in 2021: European Union Strategy on combating antisemitism

Given the rise in antisemitic violence and hate crime, the Commission will present a comprehensive strategy on combating antisemitism, to complement and support Member States’ efforts, as part of the Work Programme 2021.

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See also Work Programme 2021
 
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Adopted: Action plan on Integration and Inclusion 2021-2027

At the presentation of the action plan on Integration and Inclusion for the period 2021-2027, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “Inclusion is the embodiment of the European way of life. Integration and inclusion policies are vital for newcomers, for local communities, and contribute to cohesive societies and strong economies. Everyone who has the right to be in Europe should have access to the tools they need to realise their full potential and assume the rights and obligations governing our Union.”

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The Commission calls on ESTONIA and ROMANIA to fully transpose EU law criminalising hate speech and hate crimes

The Commission decided to send letters of formal notice to Estonia and Romania as their national laws do not fully and accurately transpose the EU rules on combating certain forms of expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law. Estonia has failed to transpose criminalisation of the specific forms of hate speech, namely the public condoning, denying or gross trivialisation of international crimes and the Holocaust, when such conduct aims at inciting violence or hatred.

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See also Infringements package
 
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SPEECHES
President Ursula von der Leyen State of the Union Speech 2020

16 September 2020 - President von der Leyen specifically addressed antisemitism in her State of the Union speech: "We ask where is the essence of humanity when anti-semitic carnival costumes openly parade on our streets? Where is the essence of humanity when every single day Roma people are excluded from society and others are held back simply because of the colour of their skin or their religious belief? (…) And this reminds us that progress on fighting racism and hate is fragile – it is hard won but very easily lost. (…) Hate is hate – and no one should have to put up with it. (…) None of us will be safe until all of us are safe – wherever we live, whatever we have."

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Vice-President Margaritis Schinas’ speech on the occasion of Rosh Hashana

29 September 2020 - Margaritis Schinas, European Commission Vice-President for Promoting our European way of life, delivered a keynote speech at the Rosh Hashanah Reception organised by the European Jewish Association and the European Jewish Community Center. “I was inspired by how, once again, Jewish communities have risen to this challenge to make sure that community life continues, and that Rosh Hashanah remains a celebration of coming together in spirit, even if physically far apart – whether in Europe, in Israel or elsewhere in the world.”

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Katharina von Schnurbein's speech during the ECRI Plenary

30 September 2020 - The Commission Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, Katharina von Schnurbein, took part in an exchange of views on the working definition of antisemitism alongside Kathrin Meyer, Executive Secretary of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), Robert Williams, Chair of the IHRA Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial, and Brian Klug, Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at St. Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford (United Kingdom). The discussion was organised during the Plenary of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI).

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See also ECRI website
Documents
Document Speech_Katharina von Schnurbein_ECRI Plenary_30 September 2020.pdf  (299 Kb)
 
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NEWS
Remembering Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Europe has lost an outstanding thinker, a charismatic leader and above all a mensch. As philosopher and theologian, he enriched the debate in European institutions participating in the European Commission’s High-level dialogue with religious leaders. He was a bridge builder between cultures and faiths, focusing on communalities rather than differences, emphasizing the responsibility of the individual to contribute to society. May his memory be a blessing. Baruh Dayan Emet.

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Document Remembering Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.pdf  (435 Kb)
 
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Football clubs urged to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism

The European Commission Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life joined the initiative of Lord John Mann, HM Government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism, in signing a letter that urges football clubs to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. The letter was co-signed by European and International Special Envoys and coordinators on antisemitism, the IHRA Chair, the OSCE Representative and the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, and was sent out to major football Clubs in Europe as well as FIFA and UEFA.

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Document Joint letter  (414 Kb)
 
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Online anti-bias training 'Unmasking Modern Antisemitism' for EU staff

The annual anti-bias training on modern antisemitism for the EU staff delivered by CEJI - A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe took place for the first time online, on the Facing Facts platform. The first session marked the anniversary of Kristallnacht with the second part to be held around the International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021. This is the first anti-bias training on antisemitism that combines a pedagogical approach with new technological solutions.

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See also CEJI website
 
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FRA Overview of antisemitic incidents recorded in the European Union (2009-2019)

The annual overview of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights on antisemitic incidents recorded in the EU provides an overview of data on antisemitism as recorded by Member States and other sources from 2009 until 2019. As from this year, it also includes an overview of national action plans and other measures to prevent and combat antisemitism as well as information on how countries have adopted or endorsed the IHRA non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism

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EVENTS & ACTIVITIES
Special Envoys and Coordinators discuss new plans of action for combating antisemitism

19 November 2020 - During the online meeting of the Special Envoys and coordinators on combating antisemitism organised by the World Jewish Congress Executive Vice-President and CEO, Maram Stern, and co-moderated by the Commission Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, Katharina von Schnurbein, new plans of action and strategies for preventing and fighting antisemitism were presented.

 
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The role of the United Nations in combating antisemitism

17 November 2020 - At the occasion of 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the World Jewish Congress in partnership with the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the UN brought together actors in the fight against antisemitism, to discuss how the UN could address this issue. Miguel Moratinos, High representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations and UN Focal Point to monitor Antisemitism and enhance a system-wide-response, informed to work towards “having an agreement on a definition on antisemitism based on the IHRA definition which constitutes a real basis to start from.” Many countries committed, through written or video pledges, to work alongside the UN in order to better address antisemitism.

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See also Watch video
 
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13th EU-Israel High Level Seminar on combating racism, xenophobia and antisemitism

10 November 2020 - The European Union and the State of Israel held their 13th High Level Seminar on combating racism, xenophobia and antisemitism online, via videoconference. The discussion focused on hate speech in the digital sphere and its impact to the real world, as well as possible measures to address the challenges of online hatred.

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See also Joint Statement
 
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Addressing antisemitism in various fora

On behalf of the European Commission, the Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, presented the work at the EU level in the fight against antisemitism and ways forward, in various online fora including: • B’nai B'rith International Leadership Forum 2020 • Balkans Forum Against Anti-Semitism • US Department of State 'Ancient Hatred, Modern Medium: Conference on Internet Anti-Semitism' • 'Halle: One Year On. Lessons for the Future' by European Union of Jewish Students • Interview with Radio Judaica – La Matinale • Kiev Jewish Forum • Conversation with European Union for Progressive Judaism.

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Related links


International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism

Council Declaration on the fight against antisemitism 2018 

Framework decision 2008/913/JHA

Victim-Rights Directive 2012/29/EU



This newsletter delivers updates on the European Commission’s work on combating antisemitism including messages, statements, new funding opportunities, new studies, legislation, reports and events. Please do not reply to this email.


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