Jewish leaders say only 16% of European nations have lived up to pledges to fight antisemitism


(JTA) — A year and a half after representatives of 37 European nations made commitments to combat antisemitism, only 16% of European Jewish leaders said they felt their countries had fully implemented those promises, a report released by the World Jewish Congress revealed on Tuesday.

The pledges were made at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism in October 2021, during which “states committed to supporting many initiatives dealing with combating antisemitism, fostering Jewish life, and promoting Holocaust remembrance.” 

Just under half of the “Jewish leaders and professionals” surveyed, or 49%, said that their governments have at least partially implemented the plans they committed to during the Swedish forum. 

“We have seen too many times throughout history that people will come together, say all the right things, make the right commitments, but fall short on the follow-through,” WJC President Ronald Lauder said in a statement. “The truly hard work is the actual implementation of good ideas.”

According to a report released by the Swedish government in February, “60 delegations made around 150 pledges in relation to the Forum themes and related areas.” The pledges included everything from improving educational resources on the Holocaust and modern antisemitism to establishing unique legal frameworks to address hate crimes and antisemitic attacks as separate from other forms of crime. Some addressed broad topics, while some country’s pledges were as focused as the establishment of specific monuments.

A delegation from the WJC presented their study to Spain’s Monarch, King Filipe VI, on Tuesday, as the group’s leadership was in Madrid for an annual summit. Spain takes the helm of the European Union’s Presidency next year. 

“As Spain prepares to take the reins of the presidency of the EU Council, it is essential that it capitalizes on recent efforts by the international community to develop concrete actions to support and strengthen Jewish communities as they face rising antisemitism,” said Lauder. “The history of Jews in Spain is complex, filled with remarkable achievements but also deep sorrow and exile. Spain has an opportunity to write a new chapter in its relationship with the Jewish people.”

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