EU Speakers Vow Zero Tolerance for Anti-Semitism

January 27, 2015  

The Roundtable of Speakers of Parliament in the European Union expressed “grave concern” Tuesday about the rise in anti-Semitism witnessed in Europe.

“We, the gathered here today in Prague for the 70th commemoration ceremony of the Holocaust,” said the group, “express our grave concern about the rise in verbal, digital and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism and hate crimes, predominantly in Europe, and worldwide, directed toward Jewish individuals and communities, institutions and religious facilities.”

“Anti-Semitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity and is often used to blame them for ‘why things go wrong’; It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms, social networks, demonstrations and actions,” the Forum continued. “Anti-Semitism employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits. Contemporary examples of anti-Semitism in public life include the distortion or denial of the Holocaust with the intention of hurting Jews around the world and the State of Israel.

“Indeed, many Jews experience an inability to express themselves in public as Jews without fearing verbal or bodily harm. These experiences are supported by findings of studies recently undertaken by respectable international NGOs and intergovernmental bodies such as the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (2013).

“As heads of Parliaments we wish to make it clear that anti-Semitism, as well as other hate crimes, constitute problems for every society in which they are allowed to manifest themselves. History teaches us that for evil to prevail over good, it is enough that decent people remain indifferent, silent and complacent while the immoral and hateful few gain power. This is why it is imperative that parliaments, governments, international organizations and civil societies around the world adopt a ’zero tolerance’ policy towards these phenomena.

We believe this can be achieved through a threefold approach; education, legislation and enforcement of laws against hate crimes.”

The Roundtable “recommended, therefore, the establishment of an inter-Parliamentarian Working Group to draft legal proposals strengthening tolerance and combating various forms of hatred and incitement to hatred, in the spirit of this Declaration.”

The speakers called on the President of the European Parliament to make a call for such a meeting.

Only the Parliamentary Speaker of Turkey refused to sign the declaration. 

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