United action by V4 countries to combat anti-Semitism

The Action and Protection Foundation (TEV) hosted an international conference, „European antisemitism, the fight against antisemitism”, on 27 June 2018. In the exchange of ideas held at the Brussels headquarters of the European Jewish Association, establishing a centre to analyse antisemitism in the Visegrád countries using common methods and practices was discussed.

United action to combat antisemitism is the program’s goal taken up by the Action and Protection Foundation (TEV) initiative along with its Slovak and Polish partners. To achieve this, TEV and its partners have proposed establishing a human rights centre to monitor, research, and analyse antisemitism. This centre can offer V4 countries highly-developed methods and practices that have proven reliable when taking action against verbal and physical anti-Semitic assault.

The program leader, TEV—founded by the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation (EMIH)—is the only organisation in Europe whose target system and operation serves the most efficient form of combatting antisemitism recommended by the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe), through the triple activities of research, education, and the protection of human rights. With the involvement of Polish, Czech, and Slovak partners, the program prepares future specialists for the analytical tasks required by the monitoring activity. It imparts the skills necessary for the representation of these interests. A comprehensive antisemitism monitoring report based on data from the Visegrád Countries will be published at the end of this year as part of the program.

Nagy Zoltán nagykövet (j) Szalai Kálmán (TEV)

Opening the conference, Hungarian ambassador to Brussels Zoltán Nagy said that antisemitism has no place in Hungary, either in Parliament or public life, and anyone violating this risks a stiff fine or even a prison sentence.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, President of the European Jewish Association, emphasised in his welcome that it is important to find partners for action against antisemitism. The struggle against antisemitism can only be effective if it is combined with advocacy across all of Europe.

Johannes Börmann, deputy European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism stressed that although antisemitism specifically attacks Jewish communities, it is also a threat to the whole of society and democratic values.

In his speech, Kálmán Szalai emphasised the importance of the triple activities of research, education and the protection of rights in the fight against antisemitism. The TEV Secretary pointed out that some organisations exaggerate the verbal anti-Semitic phenomena observed in the Central European countries while remaining insensitive to the new forms of Western European antisemitism, which also comprise physical violence and economic boycotts. As a solution, Kálmán Szalai proposed the institution be established in the Visegrád countries, which can be a centre for monitoring anti-Semitic phenomena and ensuring rights across Europe.

Speeches at the conference were also given by Rabbi Baruch Mayers, the Slovak partner in the cooperation and leader of the Slovak Chabad, as well as Ádám Szesztay, Head of the Department representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Representatives of the partners in this cooperation among Visegrád countries took part in the event, along with representatives of the foreign ministries of several countries who were present as observers.

Apart from the joint representation of economic, diplomatic, and political interests, the V4 countries further strengthen their cooperation in the fields of culture, sciences, education and research by means of the Visegrád Fund created by the member countries of the Visegrád Group. The shared values of the V4 countries are especially important because no other European region shares the experience that the countries of the Central and Eastern European region have. The TEV initiative calls for the V4 countries to act together against antisemitism, which strengthens this alliance. The project was realised with the support of the Visegrád Fund.

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