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Post: On the anniversary of the Holocaust… the President of Israel calls on the European Union to strengthen the fight against anti-Semitism


Israeli President Isaac Herzog urged Europe on Thursday to toughen up its fight against anti-Semitism, condemning an alarming rise in online hate speech.

“The picture is deeply disturbing: anti-Semitic rhetoric is spreading not only in shadowy regimes, but also in the heart of the free and democratic West,” Herzog said in a speech to the European Parliament on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“There is still hatred of Jews. Anti-Semitism still exists. Holocaust denial still exists.”

Herzog pointed to reports showing an increase in anti-Semitic incidents, particularly on the internet, where “it spreads at record speed, with the click of a button”.

He continued: “So I ask you, representatives of Europe: don’t stay on the sidelines, you must read the warning signs, identify the symptoms of the anti-Semitism epidemic and fight it at all costs.”

According to a November EU report, anti-Jewish misinformation and hatred “spread” online during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, fueling a trend that began during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Analysts have pointed to the danger of “false narratives” fueling anti-Semitism as Russia seeks to justify its war by misusing the terms “Nazi” and “genocide” to describe the Ukrainian government.

The European Union executive presented its first strategy to combat anti-Semitism in October 2021.

Herzog warned European leaders not to confuse criticism of Israel with denying the “existence of the State of Israel”.

“Questioning the right of the Jewish people to have a nation-state is not legitimate diplomacy,” he said, adding that “this is anti-Semitism in every sense of the word and must be completely eradicated.”

EU countries have different approaches to Israel, and the bloc has often struggled to find a unified position in the conflict with the Palestinians.

Last year, the EU and Israel resumed joint council meetings after a 10-year hiatus sparked by Israeli anger over Brussels’ criticism of expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank, which is illegal under international law.

However, the return of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister at the head of the most right-wing government in the country’s history has dashed hopes of improving relations.

Herzog urged EU countries to “broaden, deepen and strengthen our partnership”.

Source: EuroNews

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