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19th Aug 2019

European Commission to host anti-semitism seminar

A seminar to discuss anti-semitism in Europe will be held on 19 February, the European Commission said on Friday (23 January).

The seminar, to be held in Brussels, follows a series of spats between the Commission and representatives from the Jewish community.

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These culminated in an article in the Financial Times when the President of the World Jewish Congress Edgar Bronfman and the President of the European Jewish Congress, Cobi Benatoff, accused the Brussels executive of being anti-semitic.

The decision to hold the seminar next month - talks on the possibility of holding a conference were halted temporarily after the article appeared - represents a renewed effort by both sides to put their differences behind them.

Discussions will focus on history and culture, religious dialogue, anti-semitism in Europe and relations between Europe and Israel, said a Commission spokesperson.

Speakers at the event will include Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi in the UK, a Cardinal from the Catholic Church and a representative from the Muslim community.

German foreign minister Joschka Fischer and former President of the Knesset, Abraham Borg, will also attend.

The bad feeling between the two sides started last year when the Commission released a poll, which showed that the majority of those asked considered Israel to be the biggest threat to peace.

From the limited list that respondents were asked to choose from, Israel came ahead of both North Korea and Iran - causing diplomatic furore both for the result itself and the fact that the Commission had carried out such a survey.

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