“First, because Jewish people feel threatened, and they are threatened,” he said. “They are even attacked in Europe. Just because they are Jewish. We do not accept this. We will never accept it.”
Michel spoke at an online event organized by the European Jewish Congress, which was also attended by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola.
With the wide circulation of false information about the Holocaust on the internet, European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor cited the big amount of time spent online during the coronavirus pandemic as one of the reasons for the rise in antisemitism.
“We have to understand better their concerns and aspirations and speak to them in their language,” he said. “There has been a tsunami of lies about Jews, Israel and the Holocaust over the last couple of years, so we have to create new strategies to reach those who are consuming this information innocently.”
With France holding the EU’s rotating presidency, the European Jewish Congress’ ceremony focused on the Holocaust is in France, on the 80th anniversary of the Velodrome d’Hiver round-up, a mass arrest of Jews by French police in Paris in 1942.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he has taken action to dissolve groups promoting hatred and deplored that “falsifications of history are back.”
The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution in November 2005 establishing the annual commemoration and chose Jan. 27, the day that Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by Soviet troops in 1945.
In all, about 6 million European Jews and millions of other people were killed by the Germans and their collaborators during the Holocaust. Some 1.5 million were children.