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Local strategies are needed to combat the rise of antisemitic acts in European cities and regions  

​​Since the start of the conflict in the Middle East, antisemitic acts have multiplied in several EU communities. The Belgian city of Charleroi has filed a complaint following the violation of dozens of Jewish graves. Members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) unequivocally condemned all antisemitic acts in a debate on how to locally reinforce the fight against antisemitism in the European Union during the assembly's November plenary session.

Marco Marsilio (IT/ECR), president of the Abruzzo region, said: "Hatred of Jews goes hand in hand with hatred of the State of Israel and a failure to accept Israel’s right to existence. In order to effectively combat antisemitism in European cities, leadership, determination and a zero-tolerance policy are indispensable. It is crucial to act immediately, at all levels – with a special emphasis on education – to counter the normalisation of antisemitism. It is crucial that Member States increase their cooperation in different fields: between police and intelligence bodies, in exchanging information, in increasing cybersecurity and in combating the phenomenon of illegal immigration, a potential vehicle for Islamic fundamentalism in Europe."

Anne Rudisulhi (FR/Renew), member of the Bouches-du-Rhône departmental Council, said: "The scourge of the resurgence of antisemitism in Europe does not fall from the sky. In order to combat antisemitism and disinformation, we must, among other things, strengthen educational programmes and better accompany and transmit the universalist values that underpin our Europe from an early age. And, above all, stop this guilty silence that ends up killing. Our Committee of the Regions must address these issues and face them. Let us create together a space for discussion, exchange of practices, effective solutions, and innovative educational programmes such as that of the founding of the camp of miles in Aix-en-Provence. Anything that can help us dismantle prejudice and fight disinformation."

János Ádám Karácsony (HU/ECR), vice-president of the Pest Megye County Council and rapporteur of a CoR opinion on a "Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life (2021-2030)", said: "Antisemitism is an assault on the very fabric of European society. By actively encouraging inter-religious dialogue, we can build bridges, counter false stereotypes, and ensure a future where European communities are able to coexist in harmony."

Wladyslaw Ortyl (PL/ECR), president of the Podkarpackie region, intervened and said: "We should severely condemn acts of violence against Jewish citizens. Zero tolerance for antisemitism! At times, it seems that we have not learnt from history, which is why we draw attention to the seriousness of the situation."

Karl Vanlouwe (BE/EA), member of the Flemish parliament, said: "As regional and local authorities we have a responsibility to fight antisemitism. We must not import the conflict of the Middle East into our streets. We cannot allow antisemitic demonstrations and actions in our regions and cities."

Background

In its opinion on combating antisemitism adopted in 2022, the CoR highlights that any form of antisemitism, incitement to hatred or violence is unacceptable and incompatible with the values and objectives of the EU and its Member States. The CoR calls to extend the list of EU crimes to include hate speech and hate crimes to enable the establishment of EU-wide minimum standards to define criminal offences and sanctions to combat and stop the normalisation of intolerance, stigmatisation and discrimination. This position is re-affirmed in an opinion on "Extending the list of EU crimes to hate speech and hate crime".

In commemoration of Mr Adamowicz, together with partners from Gdańsk and the International Cities of Refuge Network, the CoR founded the Mayor Pawel Adamowicz Award – to promote freedom, equality, solidarity and inclusiveness. The Award ceremony will take place during the European Summit of Regions and Cities on 18-19 March 2024 in Mons (Belgium).​

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