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French EU minister points to bloc’s troubled roll-out of anti-Semitism strategies

8 months ago 34

Thirteen EU member states have not adopted national plans to combat anti-Semitism, French EU Minister Laurence Boone told a Senate hearing on Wednesday, referring to one of the recommendations in the EU strategy on the matter, which states pledged to adopt by the end of 2022.

Adopted in 2021, the first-ever EU strategy on combating anti-Semitism and fostering Jewish life, which is not legally binding, outlines several reforms to further member states’ ability to ramp up their fight and “commit to a future free from anti-Semitism in the EU and beyond,” the document reads.

“To the best of my knowledge […], 13 countries failed [to adopt their own national strategies]”, said Boone without listing which countries.

A minority of member states do not even record anti-Semitic acts as such or distinguish from other types of reprehensible acts, Boone’s cabinet told Euractiv – even though the EU strategy deplores the “inconsistent” registering of reported incidents, particularly as “member states use different methodologies and data can therefore not be compared”.

Because of the low implementation rate, Boone confirmed she would exert pressure, first diplomatically, “on the Commission to find out where we stand” on implementation.

“The Commission has a moral obligation to ask member states to mobilise on the issue of anti-Semitism in light of the past month,” her cabinet added.

Since the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October, anti-Semitic and Islamaphobic acts have multiplied in many countries. More than 1,000 anti-Semitic acts have been recorded in France in just a month, with Interior Minister Gérard Darmanin going as far as speaking of an “explosion” in rates.

Meanwhile, instances of Islamophobia have also spiked significantly since the intensification of the Israle-Hamas war.

But besides the UK, other European countries have not published statistics on reported Islamophobic incidents, which have been increasing since October 7, according to Human Rights Watch.

“This suggests they do not record hate crimes against people perceived to be Muslim. Lack of data impedes effective policy responses to such hate crimes,” the rights group said in a statement.

In a statement issued on Monday, the European Commission also actively warned of a “spike of antisemitic incidents across Europe [which] has reached extraordinary levels in the last few days, reminiscent of some of the darkest times in history. European Jews today are again living in fear,” the communiqué reads.

On the wider implications of the geopolitical crisis in the Middle East, Boone stressed that all EU members had agreed on three pillars:  “Security and the fight against terrorism [including] Israel’s right to defend itself in compliance with international humanitarian law; the protection of civilian populations [and the implementation of] a ‘humanitarian pause’ [and] the start of political negotiations”.

(Theo Bourgery-Gonse | Euractiv.fr)

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