AJC to host conference in Brussels on European anti-Semitism


(JTA) — Citing gaps in the fight against anti-Semitism in Europe, the American Jewish Committee is organizing a conference on the subject in Brussels.

The event, titled “A Defining Moment for Europe” and scheduled to take place on May 5, is meant to “raise consciousness to the problem” and arrive at “concrete proposals for an AJC/European action plan,” AJC wrote in a statement sent Tuesday.

While countries like France have taken “real steps to fight anti-Semitism,” AJC Director David Harris told JTA, “what we see in France is not what we see throughout Europe.”

Harris noted the rejection on April 19 of a resolution against anti-Semitism at the annual general meeting of the Britain branch of Amnesty International. Opponents said they objected to language that singles out of anti-Semitism from other forms of xenophobia.

“It did not come as a surprise,” he said. The failure of the draft motion at the Amnesty vote, Harris added, “illustrates the point that not only organizations but governments don’t want to understand the specificity of anti-Semitism, opting for a broader and seemingly well-meaning approach that fails to address or tackle” the hatred of Jews.

For action against anti-Semitism, “one needs to name the problem, name who is responsible for the problem — and in Europe many of those responsible belong to Muslim communities.”

In Denmark, “there was an unwillingness by many officials to identify the source of the problem” after the slaying in February by an Islamist of a Jewish volunteer guard outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue.

France is a leader in Europe’s fight against anti-Semitism, Harris added, in part because its leaders “speak clearly about the link between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.” Earlier this month French Prime Minister Manuel Valls unveiled a $107 million plan to fight anti-Semitism.

Among the European officials confirmed to attend the May 5 event in Brussels are Jan Jambon, Belgium’s deputy prime minister, and European Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova.

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