EJC Executive Vice-President and CEO Raya Kalenova addressed a high-level conference titled ‘The Fight against antisemitism: a common approach to better protect Jewish communities in Europe – from policy to action’ organised by the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the European Parliament in Brussels.
The conference served as a follow-up to the historic Council declaration of 6 December 2018 on the fight against antisemitism adopted during the Austrian presidency of the Council and as a call to action to national governments to proceed to the implementation of crucial policy recommendations.
Ms. Kalenova delivered an opening statement alongside Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă, First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, Chair of the European Parliament Working Group on antisemitism Heinz K Becker MEP, as well as leaders from major international Jewish organisations, including Ronald S. Lauder, WJC President.
“National governments can do better, and therefore the Council declaration is a necessary response to reassure our communities that they have a future in Europe, but most importantly a fundamental basis to achieve results for our communities on the ground”. Kalenova said.
“We at the European Jewish Congress represent 42 national Jewish communities across Europe and we will always fight for their interests. For the Declaration to live up to its promise, governments must work closely with Jewish communities, understand their different priorities and needs, and work hand in hand to deliver results”, Ms. Kalenova added, “Let us make sure that this unique opportunity does not go to waste, let us join forces to secure Jewish life and to secure the European project.”
The conference brought together major stakeholders including representatives from national governments, the European institutions and international organisations, as well as diplomats, leaders and experts from Jewish communities and Jewish civil society organisations, who introduced different strategies and perspectives in order to facilitate an effective implementation of the declaration.
The high-level conference was the first official act of newly-appointed United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating antisemitism, Elan Carr.
Concluding remarks were made by Katharina von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator on Combatting antisemitism and Yohan Benizri, EJC Vice-President and President of the Coordinating Committe of Belgian Jewish organisations.
“Putting an end to antisemitism is a necessity, it is not something that we can have the luxury of not tackling,” said Mr. Benizri. “We have good resolutions, we have good declarations, let’s put them to use and mobilise civil society.”