European Jewish Congress (EJC) President Dr. Moshe Kantor called for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism – already officially adopted by the UK, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria and Austria – by all OSCE member states.

Dr. Kantor spoke at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) International Conference on the Responsibility of States, Institutions and Individuals in the Fight against Anti-Semitism in the OSCE Area, held in Rome today.

The conference was held on the 80th anniversary of the racial laws that were promulgated in Italy in 1938, and ahead of Italy assuming the Presidency of the IHRA.

Among the participants at the conference were high-level government delegations and independent institutions, as well as representatives of civil society.

The conference was opened by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano, OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger and the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir.

Dr. Kantor called for member states to prioritise: “The adoption by the OSCE of the working definition of antisemitism; amending national legislation based on the adopted definition and bringing national enforcement practices in line with the general definition.”

He noted the importance of these actions for European Jewry to feel safer on the continent.
“On the Jewish street, the search for solutions is constant, but they often result in the pessimistic dilemma of staying in Europe and living with the challenges of antisemitism or finding a safer place elsewhere,” Dr. Kantor said. “Antisemitism is not only a Jewish problem, it concerns all European citizens. Extremist ideologies start by threatening Jews, but are in fact a challenge to society as a whole. We have to move fast and not wait for a new catastrophe.”

During the event, Dr. Kantor presented awards to two worthy recipients. Firstly, he presented the Jerusalem Navigator award to the Italian Foreign Minister Alfano for “fighting against all forms of antisemitism, including anti-Zionism, which represents the most hateful and creeping form of antisemitism.” He also presented the Golden Vision award to  Ambassador Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, for “devoting his life to the flourishing of Judaism, helping Jews reconnect with their roots and helping rebuild Jewish communities across the world.”

The conference was held in cooperation with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the Center for Contemporary Jewish Documentation (CDEC) and the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI).

The European Jewish Congress is the democratically-elected representative organisation of European Jewry, uniting 42 European Jewish communities.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is an inter-governmental organisation of 57 participating states from Europe, Asia and North America. It addresses a wide range of security-related issues, including arms control, human rights, national minorities, policing strategies and counter-terrorism.