WGAS strongly condemns surging antisemitism in Europe and calls for the immediate release of hostages from Hamas

The European Parliament Working Group against Antisemitism (WGAS) issued a joint statement condemning the surge in antisemitism in Europe following the Hamas attack on Israel and calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held in the Gaza Strip.

“The European Parliament Working Group against Antisemitism (WGAS) expresses its deep concern at the sharp increase in incidents of antisemitism targeting Jews and Jewish institutions across Europe since the barbaric attack by the Hamas terrorist organization on Israeli towns and villages, occurred exactly one month ago on October 7.

The European Parliament Working Group against Antisemitism expresses our deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the terror attacks in Israel and our absolute condemnation of the Hamas terror organization. We express our full solidarity with the Israeli people in their legitimate right to defend their country. We are appalled by the abduction of Israeli citizens to Gaza by Hamas. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

The attack by the Hamas terror group on Israel, in which more than 1,500 Israelis were murdered and hundreds of men, women and children abducted to Gaza on October 7 produced the highest number of Jewish casualties seen in any single day since the Shoah. The European Parliament Working Group against Antisemitism vehemently and unequivocally condemns this heinous and barbaric attack.

It is with great dismay and concern that we observe a surge of Jew hate across the European continent. Right now, it is more important than ever to show solidarity with Israel and the Jewish communities in Europe.
Detailed reports from Jewish communities and the European Jewish Congress, as well as monitoring of antisemitic incidents by law enforcement agencies in EU Member States, reveal a noted targeting of Jewish institutions and individual Jews on the streets of Europe. Not only have the barbaric attacks been widely justified and praised in a series of antisemitic demonstrations in European cities, but the violent anti-Jewish and anti-Israel rhetoric at these events and the utilization of classic antisemitic tropes, statements and threats across social and mainstream media have translated to violent attacks against Jews.

These antisemitic incidents have included the firebombing of a synagogue in Germany, vandalism against Jewish stores, restaurants and community institutions, antisemitic daubings of Jewish schools, synagogues and homes, hate and antisemitism in different forms and actions towards Jewish students on university campuses, as well as violent physical attacks against Jews.

At the same time, we are currently witnessing a significant increase in online antisemitism and the unrestricted spread of hate speech, including the glorification of Hamas and other terrorist organizations. It is imperative that social media companies adhere to the requirements set out by the European Union in the 2022 Digital Services Act (DSA) and protect their users from such content. EU institutions and Member States should take all necessary measures to combat online antisemitism and ensure that companies are held accountable for the hateful content on their platforms, including imposing fines on social media companies and the prosecution and investigation of incite to commit attacks of hateful violence and terror.

We further call on European governments, local authorities and law enforcement agencies to fulfil their responsibility of ensuring the safety of Jewish citizens; effectively vet organizers of demonstrations and their ties to malign actors and respond promptly when illegal behaviour occurs. There must be zero tolerance for any actions of support and solidarity for terrorism or for any manifestations of antisemitism. This is why we renew our plea to all Member States to train law enforcement personnel to use the IHRA definition of antisemitism so that they can comprehend the specificity of the threat and combat it effectively. We call on colleagues in the European Parliament and national parliaments across the EU to use their platforms to loudly and clearly condemn antisemitism – a hatred that has no place in our society. Fighting antisemitism is a crucial step in upholding democratic values and human rights. Tomorrow marks the 85th anniversary of the November pogroms in 1938, which serves as a stark reminder of the historical significance of combating antisemitism”

WGAS is an informal cross-party alliance of Members of the European Parliament dedicated to raising awareness and contributing to strengthening the fight against antisemitism in the European Union. The EJC acts as Secretariat and Member of the Advisory Board of WGAS.

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