Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Press Release: MK Shimon Ohayon to European Officials: “Don’t Let Anti-Semites Define Hate.”

The following press release was sent to the media:

MK Shimon Ohayon to European Officials:
“Don’t Let Anti-Semites Define Hate.”

(Tuesday, 5th November) – Member of Knesset Dr. Shimon Ohayon met today in the Knesset with a series of groups from European Union, including a delegation of Members of the European Parliament and the EU Deputy Ambassador to Israel.

Among the topics discussed were the rise in Antisemitism in Europe, especially in light of the soon to be released survey by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) which shows a significant rise in Antisemitism over the last five years.

Israeli MK Shimon Ohayon Credit: Knesset
picture not from original press release

“Antisemitism in Europe is at its greatest peak since the end of the Second World War and there are now places on the continent where Jews can no longer live and many others where no outward expressions of Jewishness are tolerated,” MK Ohayon, who is the Chairman of the Knesset Lobby for the Struggle Against Anti-Semitism, said. “Europe needs to deal more seriously with this rise in hate which is creating an untenable situation for the Jews of Europe. However, to really fight Antisemitism, the European Union first needs a fundamental definition which law enforcement agencies and judicial bodies can use to prosecute those who target Jews and Jewish institutions.”

“I call on all relevant European agencies to recognize and legally ratify the Working Definition of Antisemitism as adopted in 2005.”

In 2004 the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), the predecessor to the FRA, released its first comprehensive study of Antisemitism in the EU. Soon after the agency wrote and adopted the ‘Working Definition of Antisemitism’.

However, while bodies like the US State Department make use of the definition, it has never been fully adopted by the European Union or any European member nations. Earlier in the year, a British college lecturer took legal action against the University and College Union (UCU) in the UK in the face of what he argued was institutional Antisemitism, which included the union’s decision to reject the EU Working Definition of Antisemitism which allowed for rampant manifestations of hate against Jews on British university campuses. [emphasis added]

“The lack of a unified and vigorous definition means that anti-Semites will continue to act with impunity knowing that their actions can not be prosecuted,” MK Ohayon. “We must not allow anti-Semites to define hate. Jews need protection before the law and the law needs guidance or it will be rendered useless and irrelevant.”

“There are many anti-Semites who have been fighting against the ‘Working Definition’ for many years so they can continue their attacks on Jews and the Jewish State. The European Union needs to tell these people that their racism and hatred will no longer be acceptable and their actions will be punishable before the law.” [emphasis added]

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