Thursday, November 16, 2017

Europe: K. von Schnurbein: In Brussels "you know that something is Jewish because there is a military in front and there is no sign on the house"

Via European Jewish Press:
(...) As [the EU] Coordinator in the fight against anti-Semitism, she has to address all the various forms of this phenomenon: right-wing extremism, left-wing anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism within the Muslim community but also increasingly from the centre of the society. She also deals with the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Desinvestment and Sanctions) actions on university campuses and their  consequences on Jewish students. 
Katharina von Schnurbein also stresses the importance of raising the awareness about anti-Semitism among the general population. "In Germany, for example, 78% of the general population thinks that anti-Semitism is not a problem… while 77% of German Jews, almost the same percentage,  think that anti-Semitism is a worrying phenomenon on the rise." (...)

"We know that anti-Semitism is on the rise. Figures in every country don’t necessarily show that it went up but there is a large under-reporting and especially what I have noticed from travelling and talking to the Jewish communities across Europe, is the amount of fear. People are afraid even to go out on the street, of course it differs among member states. In some member states you will still have some Jewish infrastructures that do not need security. But if you look for example here in Brussels, you know that something is Jewish because there is a military in front and there is no sign on the house. Also particularly worrying is the fact that Jews are thinking about leaving Europe… It is very shocking."

The EU will conduct in May next year a large survey of the perceptions of the Jewish community about anti-Semitism and about their general situation. It will be done by the Fundamental Rights Agency which made a similar survey in 2015. "We will reach out to all the Jewish communities across the member states to make sure that we have a good sample and that we take the correct measure of how the situation is," says von Schnurbein. (...)

For Katharina von Schnurbein, however, the ultimate goal must be "normality" for the Jewish communities. "While we have security measures, in the end we must come to a situation where Jews, either observant or secular, can  live the lives they want to live, including when they send their kids to schools, whether Jewish schools or public schools. When they are in Jewish schools they don’t  have to go through security measures and when they are in public schools they shouldn’t be harassed for being Jewish. It is our benchmark and our compass..."

"When I go to a church there is no security. No need. It shouldn’t be needed in front of a synagogue but of course for the moment it is needed. I think it is sad. It is good that governments have stepped up security, it is absolutely necessary, but if we want to fight anti-Semitism, I think we should have high goals."
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