Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Europe: Austrian MEP Heinz Becker calls for swift EU action plan against growing anti-Semitism

There is widespread sentiment that Europe cannot protect its citizens from islamic hatred and terrorism (Calais, Paris, Cologne to name a few) - it is unlikely that it is able to protect its Jewish citizens.  MEP Becker has to be commended for speaking out so clearly about the situation.

The Jewish European Press reports:

An Austrian Christian Democrat member of the European Parliament, Heinz Becker [pictured], has called for a swift EU action plan against growing anti-Semitism.

The MEP, who sits in the the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, also urged "comprehensive educational work, cooperation with media and stricter legislation, including EU-wide rules against hate speech and incitement."

"All EU member states need to come together against growing anti-Semitism," Becker, a member of the European People's Party (EPP) political group, the largest in the EU assembly, said.

Becker warned that "Anti-Semitism in Europe is increasing. The Jewish population in Europe is threatened again and is under police protection, some of them leave the continent."

We can’t accept this," he said. In Austria, the Jewish community has called for integration courses for refugees in order to combat the threat of Islamic anti-Semitism.

Around 15,000 Jews live in the country. The President of the Jewish Community of Austria (IKG), Oskar Deutsch, said that, "Many of them live in fear for their safety."

Instances of anti-Semitism, such as the terrorist attacks last January and November in Paris, have unsettled people.

In Austria there is "Islamic anti-Semitism", said Deutsch. However, the situation is not nearly as bad as in other countries.

"Here it is still possible to wear Jewish symbols, such as the kippah. In other countries such as France, Belgium and parts of Germany, communities are advising members of their congregation against doing so," he warned.

Although Deutsch did not want to stir up prejudices, he said that "many refugees were faced by anti-Semitic attitudes in school and the media in their homelands". This way of thinking is not easy to abandon, he added.

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