Hatred and violence towards Jews are continuously rising in Europe. More than 75 years after the Shoah, openly wearing a Kippa or speaking Hebrew still bears the risk of being insulted, discriminated against or even physically attacked. In Germany alone 3.145 antisemitic crimes have been recorded last year. Experts even estimate the number of unreported cases to be five times higher.
Therefore, the European Leadership Network (ELNET) organized Actions Matter – The International Antisemitism Summit with leading decision makers from Europe, USA and Israel. The patron of the conference was former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Christian Wulff. At this event, over 100 experts from politics, science and society discussed ways to fight antisemitism effectively.
The evening before the summit, several guests gathered in Berlin to commemorate the Jews murdered in Europe during the Shoah. As representatives of all members of the conference, Petra Pau MP, Vice President of the German Bundestag and Avi Cohen Scali, Director General of the Israeli Ministry for Diasproa Affairs and Combating Antisemitism, placed two wreaths at the memorial. At the following speakers’ dinner, guest of honour Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter MP, Parliamentary State-Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, addressed the audience.
Dr. Felix Klein, Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism, introduced the conference during the opening panel with the words: “We have to fight all forms of antisemitism – there are no innocuous forms.”
Following this call, the participants discussed and developed in four workshops strategies on how to combat Jew hatred. Israel-related antisemitism played a central role in the discussion and was identified as the most influential form of antisemitism. Apart from comprehensive approaches like educational strategies, the participants also discussed specific demands such as establishing processes for recalling public funding, if recipients act against the IHRA definition of antisemitism and thereby willingly or unwillingly foster antisemitic approaches. Another focus of the workshops was combating antisemitism online. In this context, Katharina von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator on combating Antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, promoted a clear guideline: “What is illegal offline must also be illegal online.”
The strategies and actions developed at the conference have been summed up in a 10-Point Action Plan. This action plan contains clear recommendations for the fight against antisemitism across Europe and can provide guidance to politicians as well as other actors.
Clear political actions as well as a clear stance by civil society are needed to fight antisemitism effectively. With Actions Matter – The International Antisemitism Summit, ELNET aims to contribute to these actions needed. A continuation of the conference is planned for 2024. In the meantime, ELNET continuously expands its engagement against antisemitism with further initiatives and publications.