Antisemitism

EU gathering focuses on combating antisemitism


European Parliament members from the EPP center-right group and members of the European Commission in Brussels called at an education conference on Tuesday to combat spiking antisemitism in Europe.

The conference, organized jointly by European parliamentarian Tamas Deutsch and European parliamentarian Gyorgy Holv, together with the Brussels-based Action and Protection League (APL) which is monitoring antisemitism and hate-crime across the continent, warned against the European Union and European countries financing directly or indirectly Palestinian textbook containing hate speech and antisemitic remarks.

The conference also called the different European education systems to work harder against antisemitism and those who deny Israel’s right to exist.

Hungarian deputy minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Miklos Panyi noted that several European countries have witnessed an enormous rise in the number of antisemitic incidents since the October 7 attack by Hamas against Israel. The federal police of Germany registered 2,600 such incidents.

In France, the number of antisemitic incidents in the past six weeks was three times the number of incidents in all of 2022. A significant rise was also registered in the Netherlands. In the UK, more than 1,000 incidents were reported, 60 involving schoolchildren, he said.

The Hungarian minister explained that in his country, the government oversaw a verification of all school textbooks for antisemitic remarks, and advanced a joint project with the APL for including in school textbooks the basic notions of Judaism and Israel’s history and traditions, to better educate the younger generations.  

The APL presents its project ”“Reforming school textbooks to ensure positive Jewish representation.” (credit: RINA BASSIST)

“Every country is different. Education in Europe is a matter of national responsibility. Still, it would be important to have a central project championed by the European Commission in Brussels for coordinating and supporting, and also for financing at least by 50 percent, such projects in all European Union member states,’’ stated Panyi.

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Among the speakers were several rightwing/populist politicians from Hungary, Italy, and Sweden, who pleaded for much stricter immigration and integration policies, especially concerning immigration from Muslim countries.

Also, Italian Susanna Ceccardi of the Lega Party called on the European Union to stop its support of Gaza education and cultural programs, claiming that neither UNESCO nor the European Union controls the funds channeled to such projects.

EPP MP Antonio Lopez-Isturiz White, who chairs the delegation for relations with Israel, also participated in the conference. He does not share the same opinions as the populist right on immigration and integration. What is important for him is fighting against antisemitism and fighting in favor of tolerance.

In parallel, he noted that the extreme left MPs were the only ones not to support the resolution adopted by the house on October 19 condemning the attack by Hamas and calling for the immediate liberation of the hostages. He warned that lack of condemnation of Hamas only plays into the hands of those encouraging anti-Israel and antisemitic positions.

“We are not going to fall into the trap of populism. What we, what I am concerned about, is the safety and well-being of Jews in Europe,’’ said Lopez-Isturiz White. “We must denounce persecution, denounce the graffiti on the walls of homes and shops. It is not only about the textbooks in Gaza and the West Bank, but also about our own educators here in Europe. How they deal with these issues,’’ he added.

A larger project to ensure positive Jewish representation

The APL not only organized the conference on the issue of education, but also inaugurated an exposition at the European Parliament building in Strasbourg featuring its joint project with the Hungarian government, titled “Reforming school textbooks to ensure positive Jewish representation.’’  

The project consists of developing a set of guidelines for effectively presenting Jewish history and culture in school textbooks. These guidelines, known as “The Nine Sentences,” have been successfully implemented in Hungary and are now being promoted across Europe, notes the APL.

“After October 7 we saw what happened on the streets of European capitals. The anti-Israel demonstrations. The antisemitic slogans. There were people celebrating the massacre. What led people to do that? We believe that education is the key issue in dealing with such phenomena for future generations,’’ APL secretary-general Kalman Szalai told The Jerusalem Post.

“True, education is a member-state’s privilege, but the European Union has resources to support member state countries to promote this kind of education projects, as the one we are carrying out in Hungary. So, definitively, the European Union and the European Parliament have the responsibility to act. They have the tools to do something against the Israel-hatred appearing in western European streets,’’ added Szalai.







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