EU PRESIDENCY AFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO FIGHTING ANTI-SEMITISM
WJC CEO & EViP Robert Singer, Romanian PM & EU Council President Viorica Dăncilă & Romanian
State Sec. Alexandru Victor Micula, (c) Shahar Azran, WJC
European Comm. Coordinator on Combating US Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism Elan Carr
Antisemitism Katharina von Schnurbein (c) Shahar Azran, WJC
BUCHAREST, Romania – The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union issued an official declaration recently affirming its commitment to contributing and supporting international initiatives directed at tackling the challenges facing Jewish communities, concluding the first International Meeting of Special Envoys and Coordinators on Combating Antisemitism, organized as a cooperative effort of the World Jewish Congress, Romanian Prime Minister and EU Council President Viorica Dăncilă, and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania.
The unprecedented two-day meeting brought together the national directors of more than 50 Jewish communities around the world with more than 30 government representatives tasked specifically with combating antisemitism, in order to identify the key issues and deliberate best practices going forward, under the banner “Perspective to a Future Strategy to Prevent and Fight Antisemitism, Racism, Xenophobia, Radicalization and Hate Speech."
The EU presidency’s declaration affirmed that “the conclusion of the meeting indicates that significant challenges remain to be tackled, and extra measures should be envisaged,” in certain areas, with four identified in particular: 1) Improving dialogue and cooperation to ensure the security of Jewish communities; 2) promoting the endorsement of the non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance; 3) financing Holocaust research, education, and remembrance; and 4) improving the recording and collecting of hate crime data, including specialized training programs for law enforcement and criminal justice authorities and providing support to organizations actively involved with collection of data regarding hate crimes.
Key participants included US Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism Elan Carr; Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight Against Antisemitism Felix Klein; European Commission Coordinator for Combating Antisemitism Katharina von Schnurbein; Chairman of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance George Santer; Director of ODIHR Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir; WJC Commissioner for Combating Antisemitism Julius Meinl; and WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer.
Speaking at the Palace of the Parliament in the presence of representatives from international organizations, government entities, and the Jewish community, Romanian Prime Minister Dăncilă underscored her government’s commitment to the European values of tolerance, adding: “During its rotational presidency, the Romanian government has set as an essential objective the promotion of the effective fight against racism, intolerance, xenophobia, populism, anti-Semitism and discouraging discourse of hate,” adding that her government was dedicated to these values of “respecting human rights and reducing the gap between EU citizens,” elements, she said, which she saw as being “of major relevance to the dialogue we have with the Jewish communities.” Dăncilă highlighted Romania's efforts in the field of education, research and memory of the Holocaust and combating antisemitism, which she said she hoped would serve as a point of reference for the region and internationally. The commitment of the Romanian government to these issues would continue, Dăncilă said.
In closing the conference, WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said: “This was an historic event that brought together special envoys, heads of international organizations, and the World Jewish Congress network of Jewish communities from around the world to discuss the challenges facing Jewish communities openly and honestly, and we are honored to have co-organized this unprecedented gathering. The significance of such a conference cannot be understated. We have now met, and gotten to know each other, and see that we share the same values and the same commitments. We know that your governments care about these challenges. Let us always remember, it is less important who stands against you. What is important is who stands with you. You, the special envoys on combating anti-Semitism and the Romanian Presidency of the EU under the leadership of Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, have shown that you stand with us, the Jewish people. On behalf of WJC President Ronald S. Lauder and the leadership of the World Jewish Congress, we thank you.”
The two-day meeting coincided with the WJC’s 6th National Community Directors’ Forum, an annual gathering of the top professionals of the WJC’s affiliated communities worldwide.
At the concluding session of the conference, the World Jewish Congress and its regional affiliate, the Latin American Jewish Congress, held a special commemoration to mark the 25th anniversary of the deadly 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) Jewish center, which claimed the lives of 85 people and wounded hundreds more.
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