JUSTICE - No. 68

14 No. 68 JUSTICE ntroduction Progress in recognizing antisemitism in Europe as a problem and implementing realistic programs to combat it have been challenging in the past. European states either accorded low priority to the issue, and/or lacked the political will to carry out significant programs. As I have noted previously, this was understandable, though not excusable, given the many other issues European states faced.1 However, 2021 witnessed a breakthrough in institutions such as the European Union (EU), Council of Europe (CoE), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and in Europe (OSCE). Programs have been established to combat antisemitism, and recommendations made for financial and educational assistance to strengthen Jewish communities’ continuity and security and educate the public about the Jewish presence in Europe.2 What is needed now is a system to assist states that have been reluctant or unable to implement the changes emanating from the programs. European Union In October 2021, the European Commission presented its first ever Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life (the “Strategy”). This set out a series of measures built around three pillars: to prevent antisemitism; to protect and foster Jewish life; and to promote research, education, and Holocaust remembrance. Previously, the German EU presidency had prioritized this development, as it announced in December 2020 in the “Council Declaration on mainstreaming the fight against antisemitism.”3 Thereafter, the Strategy was discussed at length internally and with European Jewish organizations, to incorporate their input in amending the draft text. In her Statement before International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2021, EU President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We are determined to win this fight. Europe thrives when its Jewish community and other minorities can live in peace and harmony. This is why we will come forward with a strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life in Europe later this year.”4 Under the first pillar of the Strategy, preventing antisemitism, states are required to develop national strategies by the end of 2022 or include specific measures against racism in their national action plans, and provide sufficient funding to implement them. States are asked to join the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), as well as adopt and use the IHRA definition of antisemitism and encourage local authorities, regions, cities, and other institutions and organizations to do the same. At the time of writing, and according to IHRA, 33 states, including 19 EU Member states, have adopted the definition.5 Also, according to the European Union Agency for Is Europe Finally Coming to Grips with Antisemitism? I MichaelWhine 1. Michael Whine, “Improving Legal and Other Protections for Europe’s Jews,” JUSTICE, No. 59 (Spring-Summer 2017), pp. 7-12. 2. Michael Whine, “Can the European Institutions Combat Antisemitism Effectively?” in CONTENDING WITH ANTISEMITISM INA RAPIDLY CHANGING POLITICAL CLIMATE (ed. Alvin Rosenfeld, University of Indiana Press, 2021), available at https://iupress.org/9780253058126/ contending-with-antisemitism-in-a-rapidly-changingpolitical-climate/ 3. European Commission, “EU Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life (2021-2030),” European Commission (Oct. 5, 2021), available at https:// ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/eu-strategy-oncombating-antisemitism-and-fostering-jewish-life_ october2021_en.pdf 4. “Statement by President von der Leyen ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day,” European Commission (Jan. 26, 2021), available at https://ec.europa.eu/commission/ presscorner/detail/en/statement_21_187 5. “Information on endorsement and adoption of the IHRA Working Definition of antisemitism,” International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (Dec. 10, 2022), available at https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/resources/ working-definitions-charters/working-definitionantisemitism/adoption-endorsement