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September 25, 2020 2:18 pm

Promoting Jewish Life Vital to Fighting Jew-Hatred in Europe, Says Top EU Official Combating Antisemitism

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

The European Commission coordinator on combating antisemitism, Katharina von Schnurbein, speaking at a press conference, in October 2019. Photo: Reuters / Andreas Gebert.

One year after the murder of two people in a foiled attack by a neo-Nazi gunman on Yom Kippur services at a synagogue in the central German city of Halle, the EU’s top official dealing with antisemitism has emphasized the importance of Jews feeling welcome in Europe as integral to their survival as a community on the continent.

“The shock of this attack — on Yom Kippur of all occasions, of all places in Germany — is something we are still feeling,” Katharina von Schnurbein — the European Commission coordinator on combating antisemitism — told the German-Jewish newspaper Jüdische Allgemeine in an extensive interview this week.

Von Schnurbein asserted that protecting Jews in Europe “means more than just building security.”

“Overall, we have to protect Jews better, including in everyday life,” she said. “And that only works if we actively promote Jewish life. It’s at least as important as fighting hatred.”

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Commenting on the recent statement by Michael O’Flaherty — the head of the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) — that not enough European countries are collecting data on antisemitism, von Schnurbein agreed wholeheartedly.

“He’s right,” she said. “Antisemitism needs to be made visible in order for the problem to be recognized…Correct data collection from anti-Semitic incidents is also important in order to provide concrete support to the victims. The EU member states are obliged to do this.”

Von Schnurbein added that fighting antisemitism was a priority for the European Commission’s new president, Ursula von der Leyen.

“Jews will only see their future in Europe if they feel safe,” she said.

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