Austrian Jews welcome national strategy against antisemitism

The president of the Jewish community of Vienna (IKG Wien), Oskar Deutsch, welcomed the publication of a national strategy against antisemitism by the Austrian Federal Chancellery.

The comprehensive strategy addresses relevant policy areas such as education and research, the security of Jewish communities, the effective prosecution of antisemitic hate crime, integration, data collection, and civil society engagement.

38 concrete measures are envisioned in the National Strategy. These include increased funds for the protection of Jewish communities, which will be tripled, the creation of a centre for the study of antisemitism, reviewing educational materials on antisemitism to be taught in class, the creation of a platform for civil society engagement, strengthening the fight against antisemitic online hate speech and the creation of a dedicated unit to coordinate the fight against antisemitism at the Federal Chancellery.

Addressing the presentation of the document at the Federal Chancellery, Deutsch stated: “The National Strategy against antisemitism is an urgently necessary step: It makes explicit that the fight against antisemitism is not primarily the task of the Jewish community, but of the entire nation, and it demonstrates how serious this government is by taking sustainable and cross-departmental measures,”

“I want to thank the Federal Government and particularly Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler and Federal Minister Karoline Edtstadler. I also want to thank [European Commission Coordinator] Katharina von Schnurbein, who has been committed to combating Antisemitism in all of Europe for many, many years,” he added.

“As joyful as the completion of the Strategy against antisemitism is – it has yet to receive the breath of life. It is not enough if only the politicians are acting on it. All employers have to act, all pensioners, all teachers and students, all journalists; All of you have to act, dear ladies and gentlemen!,” he continued.

“I said earlier that the fight against antisemitism is not a primary task of the four Jewish communities in Austria. But of course, we are defending ourselves! We are massively investing in security, we are running an office recording antisemitic incidents and we offer support to all of those who experience antisemitism – no matter their religion. But our strongest answer to antisemitism? Jewish life!,” Deutsch concluded.

At the presentation of the strategy, Karoline Edtstadler, Minister for the EU and Constitution at the Federal Chancellery, and Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler also addressed Austria’s “historic and everlasting” responsibility to stand up against antisemitism ensure the security and wellbeing of Jews in the country.

The National Strategy is a direct outcome of the European Council Declaration of 6 December 2018 on the fight against antisemitism, adopted unanimously by all EU member states, under the Austrian presidency of the Council.

The Declaration invites all EU member states to adopt and implement a holistic strategy to prevent and fight all forms of antisemitism.

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