LONDON (Jul. 25)
The dissemination of printed anti-Semitic material could be outlawed throughout Europe if the European Commission adopts a report on racism presented Monday in Brussels.
The report on racism and anti-Semitism in Europe, prepared by an all-party committee of the European Parliament, the legislative body of the European Community, concluded, for example, that Britain’s “exceptionally good laws” against the dissemination of racist and anti-Semitic propaganda, “are underused.”
The report seeks to coordinate the anti-hate laws of the E.C.’s 12 member states.
If the report’s recommendations are acted on by the European Commission at E.C. headquarters in Brussels, publishers of anti-Semitic material who send such material to people’s homes could be prosecuted.
That has not been the case in Britain where, despite tough laws, no one has yet been prosecuted for disseminating a newsletter which denies the Holocaust occurred and where spreading a blood libel against Jews is not considered incitement to race hatred.
The committee’s report calls attention to the dramatic increase of racist and anti-Semitic activity in both Western and Eastern Europe. It cites the growth of neo-Nazi and extreme right-wing organizations, particularly in France and Germany.
One of its 77 recommendations is “to prohibit the dissemination of anti-Semitic and racist material,” either through the post or in public places.
IMMUNE FROM PROSECUTION
Both the so-called “Holocaust News,” a newsletter denying the Holocaust took place, and widely circulated leaflets claiming Jews engage in the ritual slaughter of Christian children fall into that category. So far, they have been immune from prosecution.
The committee report holds the fascist British National Party responsible for the distribution of “Holocaust News.”
The Crown Prosecution Service ruled last month that the blood libel leaflet called “Jewish Tributes to Our Child Martyrs” was “not likely to stir up racial hatred,” nor was it “consistent with any intent to do so.”
Responding to a request for the ruling to be reconsidered, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s private secretary, Charles Powell, wrote to the Jewish Chronicle last week that “the government does indeed recognize this type of publication is offensive to many people.”
But that is “not a consideration which, under existing legislation, can form the foundation of criminal proceedings,” Powell explained.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Peter Impart told the Jewish Chronicle in an interview last week that proving racial motives in crimes could be difficult under present laws.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews has brought some 19 racist or anti-Semitic publications to the attention of law enforcement officials in the past two years, none of which has resulted in a prosecution.
If the European Commission adopts the all-party committee’s report and proposes remedial legislation, it “would be binding” on all member countries “within a couple of years,” according to European Parliament member Glyn Ford, a Labor representative from Greater Manchester who chaired the inquiry.
In addition to urging member states to carefully monitor fascist and extreme right-wing groups in Western Europe, the report asks the E.C. to discuss the growth of racism and anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe.
It noted that “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a notorious anti-Semitic forgery by the Czarist police, is on public sale in Bucharest.
Jewish property in Hungary has been vandalized. In Poland, Jewish members of Solidarity have been “singled out as targets for anonymous propaganda leaflets and graffiti,” the report says.
It adds that “violent anti-Semitic attacks, including murder,” have occurred in Moscow and Leningrad since autumn 1989.