Vice Presidents Jourová and Schinas speak at 4th meeting of Working Group on Antisemitism

December 9, 2020

On 8 December, Vice-President Věra Jourová and Vice-President Margaritis Schinas participated in the 4th meeting of the Working Group on combating antisemitism. Vice-President Schinas opened the meeting with remarks on stepping up the fight against antisemitism, while Vice-President Jourová will deliver closing remarks in the afternoon. The meeting was focused on the development of national strategies against antisemitism, the practical use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, and fighting against antisemitic prejudices as part of civic orientation measures based on the EC Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion.
Values and Transparency Vice-President Věra Jourová said:  ‘It is more important than ever to think critically, to not believe immediately what you read and hear. Countering disinformation and promoting democracy are crucial principles to our democratic societies and to the functioning of the European Union.”
Vice President Schinas said: “In 2021 we will present with our first comprehensive EU strategy on combating antisemitism. Our message is clear: Europe is determined to win this fight. Europe is proud of its Jewish communities and stands by its Jewish communities.”
The European Commission created the ad-hoc Working Group on antisemitism within the existing high-level member states expert group on racism and xenophobia to help member states in the implementation of the Council Declaration on the fight against antisemitism and the development of a common security approach to better protect Jewish communities and institutions in Europe of 6 December 2018. More information on the Commission's work to tackle antisemitism can be found here.
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At Israel’s prodding, record 31 nations to boycott Durban conference anniversary

Envoy says dozens of countries will shun this year’s anti-racism conference at UN after past antisemitism; Bennett to make debut address at General Assembly next week

By TOI STAFF
Thirty-one nations will boycott a UN meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the Durban World Conference on Racism — also known as Durban IV — on Wednesday, over concerns that it will veer into open antisemitism as it has in the past.
The first Durban conference — held from August 31 to September 8, 2001, just days before the terror attacks of September 11 — was marked by deep divisions on the issues of antisemitism, colonialism and slavery. The US and Israel walked out of the conference in protest at the tone of the meeting, including over plans to include condemnations of Zionism in the final text.
At the 2009 conference, a speech by Iran’s then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacking Israel sparked a temporary walkout by many European delegates.
Thirty-one nations will boycott a UN meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the Durban World Conference on Racism — also known as Durban IV — on Wednesday, over concerns that it will veer into open antisemitism as it has in the past.
The first Durban conference — held from August 31 to September 8, 2001, just days before the terror attacks of September 11 — was marked by deep divisions on the issues of antisemitism, colonialism and slavery. The US and Israel walked out of the conference in protest at the tone of the meeting, including over plans to include condemnations of Zionism in the final text.
At the 2009 conference, a speech by Iran’s then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacking Israel sparked a temporary walkout by many European delegates.
This year, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Friday, a record 31 countries will be skipping the event, over double the amount that have done so in the past.
“In recent months I have worked for the world to understand that the Durban Conference was fundamentally rotten,” he said in a Monday tweet. “I’m glad many more understand this today.”
The United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, and France are among some of the key nations set to boycott this year’s meeting.

Vaccines, climate, nuclear deal on General Assembly agenda

The highlight of the UN General Assembly, during which world leaders and other top officials deliver addresses from the marble-backed podium, begins on Tuesday in New York and will see a mixture of in-person speeches and pre-recorded video messages sent from around the world.
This year’s event and is markedly different from last year’s, which was conducted mostly online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the speeches by world leaders, the General Assembly usually also has hundreds of side events, but only a limited number are being held this year, mainly virtually or outside UN headquarters.
These include events on vaccines, on children as invisible victims of the coronavirus and conflict, on multilateralism and democracy, and on global hotspots including Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Additionally, the UN Security Council will hold a high-level meeting Wednesday on climate and security.
Afghanistan and other major global challenges are expected to be on the agenda, including the lack of progress on the United States rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Iran’s new foreign minister, Hossain Amir Abdollahian, will be in New York and there is speculation that he may meet with the five countries that remain part of the deal — Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
There are also high-level meetings on energy and the nuclear test ban treaty, and a summit on the connected system of producing, processing, distributing and consuming food, which according to the UN contributes an estimated one-third of greenhouse gas emissions.
Thirty-one nations will boycott a UN meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the Durban World Conference on Racism — also known as Durban IV — on Wednesday, over concerns that it will veer into open antisemitism as it has in the past.
The first Durban conference — held from August 31 to September 8, 2001, just days before the terror attacks of September 11 — was marked by deep divisions on the issues of antisemitism, colonialism and slavery. The US and Israel walked out of the conference in protest at the tone of the meeting, including over plans to include condemnations of Zionism in the final text.
At the 2009 conference, a speech by Iran’s then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacking Israel sparked a temporary walkout by many European delegates.
This year, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Friday, a record 31 countries will be skipping the event, over double the amount that have done so in the past.
“In recent months I have worked for the world to understand that the Durban Conference was fundamentally rotten,” he said in a Monday tweet. “I’m glad many more understand this today.”
France are among some of the key nations set to boycott this year’s meeting.

Bennett’s debut

According to a provisional list of speakers for the General Debate, US president Joe Biden will speak on Tuesday morning, in America’s traditional slot as the second speaker of the General Debate.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will be another one of at least 83 world leaders who plan on attending in person, according to Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir, president of last year’s gathering. Twenty-six leaders applied to speak remotely, Bozkir said earlier this month. Bennett will address the gathering on Monday, September 27.
In his address, Bennett will speak about Israel’s national security and regional issues, according to his office. His remarks will likely focus on Iran’s nuclear program and its support for armed proxy groups.
Bennett’s predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, was known for making headlines with his speeches on the Iranian nuclear threat at the UN General Assembly, often using cardboard graphics and other props to get his point across.
Israel’s regional partners will also be represented, according to the provisional list. Egypt and Jordan will send their heads of state, while the foreign ministers of Israel’s new Gulf allies Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, will speak.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and new Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi are both sending prerecorded addresses to be broadcast at the event.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/at-israels-prodding-record-31-nations-to-boycott-durban-conference-anniversary/

Red Lines Follow-Up, Meeting with Hungarians High Representatives

We were honoured today to welcome a very-high level delegation of Hungarian diplomats to EJA HQ.

It is not every day that a State Secretary for Civil and State Affairs and 2 Ambassadors to Belgium and the EU deem Jewish Issues important enough to come as a triumvirate and spend over 2 hours with us in a warm, productive and very co-operative meeting.

We thank Mr. Vince Szalay-Bobrovniczky , State Secretary for Civil and Social Affairs at the Office of Prime Minister of Hungary , H.E. Mr. Tamás Iván Kovács, Hungary's Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg,  H.E. Mr. Olivér Varhelyi, Hungary's Ambassador to the European Union, Permanent Representative for their time.

We are delighted to announce that this high ranking diplomatic and governmental team has agreed to take back our Jewish Red lines to the Hungarian Government and Parliament with an intention to adopt them. We are also delighted to report the unwavering commitment of all to safeguarding, growing and enriching Jewish Life in Hungary.

 

Greetings for the Upcoming Rosh HaShanah by Prime Minister of the Finland, H.E. Mr. Antti Rinne

Words for Pesach by the Chairman of EJA, Rabbi Margolin

The pandemic has upended so much of our daily lives, including the most sacred: our holy days.
Millions of Jews around the world will be celebrating Pesach this evening in ways that up until a few weeks ago was unimaginable, without family around them, without the bustling celebration around the table. It will of course be hard for all of us.
Of course, the irony of celebrating our holiday of freedom whilst we are in confinement due to a plague – the coronavirus, will not be lost on us.
And yet, even amongst this adversity, we are being given the opportunity to celebrate Pesach in a unique way, loaded with significance that can, in fact, bring us closer to the story of our exodus from Egypt. How?
Let us be honest, how many of us really appreciate what freedom means? In our modern lives the vast majority of us are free to come and go as we please. This pandemic has given us a flavour of what it is like to lose freedoms that we take for granted, and in the process brings us closer to our ancestors, who lost theirs under Pharaoh. It brings the holiday alive.
Truly both nights will be different from all the others, they remind us to truly appreciate the everyday blessings that the almighty bestows on us everyday, our families, our jobs, our friends.
I wish you, and your families a Pesach Sameach, and G-d willing next year in Jerusalem!

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