9th Dec 2023

Surge of antisemitism in Europe condemned by EU Commission

  • 'The fact is that the two million Jews in Europe today no longer feel safe on this continent,' said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, who chairs the European Jewish Association in Brussels (Photo: Rantes)
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The EU commission has condemned antisemitism, as Jews in Europe grapple with a spike in attacks after Hamas gunmen slaughtered over 1,400 people on 7 October in Israel.

"The commission stands very firmly against all forms of antisemitism," said a European Commission spokesperson on Tuesday (31 October). "It's incompatible with Europe's core values and the principles on which the EU is founded," he added.

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The statement comes amid some 800 reports of anti-semitism in France alone over the past month as Israel steps up its war in the Gaza Strip amid a humanitarian crisis that has seen thousands of innocent people killed.

The latest incident saw the Star of David posted onto the doors of homes belonging to Jewish families in Paris, in act of intimidation reminiscent of Nazi Germany where millions of Jews were labelled before being sent to gas chambers in Auschwitz and elsewhere.

A report out earlier this week by the US-based Anti-Defamation League said a spate of violence against Jews in Europe has since erupted.

Germany and Austria, deemed the most racist EU member states according to the Fundamental Rights Agency, both also saw a spike in Jewish hatred.

It said Germany had seen a 240-percent increase of antisemitic incidents since 7 October, compared to the same time last year.

The German city of Nuremberg saw someone spray paint "child murderer" and a Star of David on an Israeli restaurant. And a German far-right AfD politician in Bavaria was recently arrest for displaying Nazi symbols.

Austria saw an even bigger 300-percent increase.

For its part, the French interior ministry noted 819 antisemitic incidents and 414 arrests. One saw two men in Paris attempt to set fire to an apartment belonging to a Jewish couple.

Earlier this month, Rabbi Menachem Margolin who chairs the European Jewish Association in Brussels, told reporters that Jews no longer felt safe in Europe.

"The fact is that the two million Jews in Europe today no longer feel safe on this continent," he said.

He said some were afraid to sleep at night out of fear of attacks. The vitriol is also playing out online in social media, he said.

X, Meta and TikTok

Among those signalled out is X, formerly known as Twitter. Other platforms like Alphabet (Google), Meta, TikTok, and YouTube have also seen posts spreading misinformation and hate speech.

Thierry Breton, the EU single-market commissioner, says online disinformation has exploded since the start of the Gaza war.

Breton had also earlier this month sent formal letters to X, TikTok and Meta, due to possible breach of new EU tech rules.

TikTok and Meta are required to remove illegal and harmful content from their platforms as required by the EU's digital services act (DSA).

Breton says TikTok has since deleted some 4 million pro-Hamas videos. The three companies have also replied to his letters, said a European Commission spokesperson.

"We are assessing currently the information that we have received," she said.


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