A European-led organization to combat global racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism launched its first meeting in Paris.
The European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation will work closely with the European Jewish Congress, and includes several former heads of state, mainly from Baltic countries, Nobel laureates and others.
“This is a council of experience, which is why it’s a very strong body,” said Moshe Kantor, the council’s vice chair and president of the European Jewish Congress, at a news conference Tuesday.
Former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, the council’s chairman, said the prestige of its still open list of more than 10 members will help push other world leaders to adhere to two documents outlining strategies for “tolerance,” plus the adoption of an educational program for schools.
Kwasniewski added that the organization would not limit efforts to anti-Semitism, “in order to be effective.”
Anti-Semitism, however, will be the focus of the council’s first major co-organized event commemorating the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht in a service held at the Great Synagogue of Europe in Brussels on Nov. 9.
Council events marking a “European Day of Tolerance” on Nov. 10 will include a policy meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels and a Tolerance Award dinner.
The council plans to fund global research on xenophobia, but has not specified how it will pay for its initiatives.