Preventing and combating anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe’’ will be the topic of this week’s annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights in the EU organized by the European Commission in Brussels.
‘’A steady rise in anti-Semitic incidents observed in recent years, culminating in fatal terrorist attacks in several EU countries, has added to the mounting fear and security concerns of European Jews,’’ the Commission said.
This situation has added to the unease felt by many European Jews. Jewish institutions are placed under increasing military or police protection and an increasing number of Jews in Europe are considering emigrating due to security concerns.
‘’Worrying trends have also been observed with regard to anti-Muslim hatred, with growing evidence of an increase in verbal and physical violence,’’ the Commission noted.
While the two phenomena differ in origins, history, manifestations and impacts, both exemplify a worrisome increase in hate incidents in Europe.
The Brussels Colloquium will look at trends and underlying reasons for anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim incidents in the European Union, their impact on people’s lives and rights and will explore ways to counter indifference in society at large.
It will also explore the most relevant avenues to address these phenomena, and examine to what extent they require specific or common responses. Focus will be placed on projects, policies and legislation designed to combat hate crime, online hate speech and discrimination.
‘’This Colloquium meets in the form of a round table which will allow key stakeholders to discuss on an equal footing and in an interactive manner the role of EU and international institutions, Member States, local authorities, civil society, community and religious leaders, the media, education and the world of employment in developing a culture of inclusive tolerance and respect in the European Union.
’’The Colloquim, on 1-2 Octoberwill be hosted by European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Vera Jourova, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz will address the opening session together with Timmermans and Felix Braz, Justice Minister of Luxembourg, the country which currently chairs the European Union.
A panel discussion on specific challenges linked to anti-Semitism will feature European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor, Jane Braden-Golay, from the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) and Rabbi Albert Guigui, Chief Rabbi of Brussels.
According to the EJC, Kantor will provide ‘’practical steps that can be taken at the European and national state level to increase protection, both legal and law enforcement, which will provide the Jewish community with a greater sense of security in Europe.’’