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Yad Vashem Responds to EU Report on Antisemitism

Calls for Action Based on Findings, Ready to Assist in Increased Educational Initiatives

(December 2, 2003 - Jerusalem) Based on the findings in Manifestations of anti-Semitism in the European Union (commissioned by the EU Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia), Yad Vashem calls on the European Union to redouble its educational efforts aimed at combating antisemitism. The report’s findings independently confirm the rise in antisemitic violence and propaganda in EU member states, the wide spectrum of perpetrating organizations, and the need for more effective educational initiatives to counter the trend.

The report reflects the EU’s positive desire to understand the roots of the dire problem of antisemitism within its boundaries. It confirms the identities of those guilty of demonizing and attacking Jews - these include groups representing the far left, the far right, extreme Islamist ideology, anti-Zionism, and detractors of Israeli policy who have left the arena of legitimate public discourse. The report confirms the very positive steps already taken in many EU member countries to educate their citizens about the Holocaust and antisemitism - but it also shows that many of these steps have not been as effective as is necessary. The educational programs need to be evaluated and adjusted - quantitatively and qualitatively - according to the changing conditions in EU countries.

Withholding the report from publication is alarmingly irresponsible, and counterproductive for Jews and European society as a whole. As the world learned 60 years ago, antisemitism can undermine the foundations of civilization as we know it. The EU should publish the report immediately and take decisive action to implement its recommendations.

Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, Avner Shalev, said:

“In accordance with the report’s findings, Yad Vashem calls on the EU to mobilize its educational and communications authorities, together with communal and lay leadership, to reinforce the front against antisemitism. As the world’s foremost center for information and education about the Holocaust and its repercussions, Yad Vashem stands ready to increase its involvement in educational initiatives in the EU. Yad Vashem also offers its services as a resource for the media, in order to contribute to balanced reporting of issues that are liable to fan the flames of antisemitism.”