Earlier this week we concluded an important delegation for over 150 Ministers, parliamentarians and diplomats from all over Europe to Auschwitz Birkenau. This was no standard visit, but included a symposium specifically dedicated to toughening and tightening laws to combat antisemitism where senior government thinkers, victims of antisemitic attacks and a former neo nazi not only provided testimony on antisemitism today, but provided solutions for eradicating it, especially through education. At the conclusion of our day long symposium, we presented participants with draft legislation covering three areas – toughening laws on anti-semitic stereotyping in the public domain, increasing education provision on the holocaust and the jewish contribution to Europe in national curriculums and textbooks, and lastly a ban on the trade for profit of Nazi memorabilia.
A gala dinner then took place where distinguished speakers addressed the guests, watched video greetings by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Opposition leader Benny Gantz, and where we presented Mr Abdallah Chatila (a Lebanese business man who bought over 600,000 Euro of nazi memorabilia and gave it to Yad Vashem in protest at the auction of such items) with the EJA’s prestigious King David Award.
On Day two, our parliamentarians visited Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau where we held a wreath laying ceremony at the Death wall, followed by a solemn ceremony and speeches with former Chief Rabbi Lau, European Parliament First Vice-President Mairead McGuiness and holocaust survivor Marek Halter.