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 The 9th joint Seminar of Israel and the European Commission on Combating Anti-Semitism, Xenophobia and Racism is taking place on December 16th and 17th, 2015 in Brussels.

 

The Seminar will bring together experts on anti-Semitism and hate crime from both sides in order to discuss two major issues: (1) Anti-Semitism, incitement and racism on social networks and the internet in general as they are prevalent phenomena today. (2) The security of Jewish communities in Europe - a subject, which is unfortunately on the agenda due to threats posed to Jewish communities by terrorists in Europe.

 

The seminar has been held for nine consecutive years, alternately in Jerusalem and in Brussels. It has been attributed great professional importance due to the issues discussed and the high quality and diverse backgrounds of its participants.

 

The Israeli delegation is headed by Ambassador Yuval Rotem, Senior Deputy Director General, Head of Department of Public Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel (MFA). He will be accompanied by a delegation of experts in the field of combating anti-Semitism, among them Akiva Tor, Head of the Department for Religious and Diaspora Affairs at the MFA and Gideon Behar, Director of the Department for Combating Anti-Semitism at the MFA.

 

On the European side, Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice and Consumers will be opening the Seminar, and EU representatives from law enforcement bodies, court and media of the European Union will take part, as well as participants from a wide range of countries in Europe. Additionally, a meeting with First Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans will be held in order to discuss anti-Semitism.

 

Ambassador Yuval Rotem: “The level of anti-Semitism in Europe remains high, and the number of anti-Semitic incidents have been increasing in recent years. This requires thorough action from the EU and European countries in order to counter this phenomenon. In this context, the current expert seminar is an important tool for achieving the goal of eradicating anti-Semitism, and we highly welcome this annual gathering."

 

In her opening statement Commissioner Vera Jourova said: "The European Commission is extremely concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism and a general increase of hatred-based violence. I am happy that today we come together to look for common solutions for an extremely worrying phenomenon. We are focusing on what unites us: the fight against racism, against xenophobia, and in particular against anti-Semitism.


The recent terrorist attacks in Europe confirm the need for a comprehensive EU response to terrorism and security threats, taking account of all available tools. We must address the root causes of terrorism and of extremism. And this starts with prevention. We are working to ensure that the EU response to extremism does not lead to the stigmatisation of any one group or community."


Ambassador Yuval Rotem, Senior Deputy Director General, Head of Public Diplomacy Directorate at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "We must understand, political leaders and lay leaders alike, that our rhetoric and the words we say, or neglect to say, have meaning. Silence in the face of hatred is meaningful; muteness in face of anti-Semitism is dangerous. We must rise to the occasion of condemning manifestations of hatred and appearances of anti-Semitism, wherever and whenever they appear, and against whoever reveals them. I therefore welcome the occasion of the EU's engagement in tackling the issue."


Among the issues which were addressed in the framework of the dialogue were
Addressing on-line anti-Semitism in social media and on the internet: Enforcing legislation and the technological capabilities of IT companies
The security of Jewish communities in Europe
De-radicalization policies, security and EU hate crime legislation
Operative Conclusions of the Israel's 5th Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism
Operative Conclusions of the European Commission's First Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights