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EU Unveils Strategy for Combating Growing Antisemitism in Europe

FILE - People take to the streets near Republique square to protest anti-Semitism, in Paris, France, Feb. 19, 2019.
FILE - People take to the streets near Republique square to protest anti-Semitism, in Paris, France, Feb. 19, 2019.

The European Union announced a comprehensive plan Tuesday to fight the growing problem of antisemitism on the continent, using a three-pronged strategy that includes combating hate speech and crimes, protecting Jewish culture, and educating the public about Judaism.

The EU's executive branch, the European Commission, introduced the plan at a news conference in Strasbourg, France.

In a statement, the commission said antisemitism is worryingly on the rise, in Europe and beyond. Citing statistics from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, 90% of Jews said antisemitism has increased in their country and it is a serious problem, and 38% of Jews have considered emigrating because they do not feel safe in the EU.

Under the newly unveiled plan, which will be rolled out over a decade, the commission will use EU funds to support member countries as they develop their own national strategies to fight hate speech online and elsewhere and to promote fundamental rights.

Discussing the strategy with reporters, EU Commission Vice-President for Promoting European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas said, "Antisemitism is not the problem of the Jews, but the problem of antisemites, and fighting it is the responsibility for all of us. I want to be very clear: antisemitism is incompatible with everything that the European Union stands for."

The aim is to set up a Europe-wide network of "trusted flaggers" along with Jewish organizations to help remove illegal online hate speech.

EU leaders will also work with industry and IT companies to prevent the illegal display and sale of Nazi-related symbols, memorabilia and literature online.

Funding will be provided to better protect public spaces and places of worship to help Jewish people feel safer, with $28 million available next year.

Other steps will be taken to safeguard Jewish heritage and raise awareness about Jewish culture, life and traditions.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press.

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