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#EuropeUnited against anti-Semitism

Foreign Minister Maas delivering a speech at the conference

Foreign Minister Maas opens the first conference of the European Network “Combatting Anti-Semitism Through Education”, © Thomas Trutschel/photothek.net

14.05.2019 - Article

In Berlin, Foreign Minister Maas has opened the first conference of the European Network focusing on using education as a tool against anti-Semitism. With the support of the Federal Foreign Office, European civil society organisations want to forge closer links and exchange experiences.

At the first event held on 14 May, Foreign Minister Maas stressed that education was the best way to counter growing anti-Semitism:

An understanding of our own history is more than just knowledge about the past. It’s the best immunisation against intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism. Remembering the past is an integral part of the future. That’s why we have to close gaps in knowledge.

Achieving more together

Anti-Semitic crimes are on the rise throughout Europe and Jewish people say that there has been a tangible increase in the number of anti-Semitic comments made in everyday life. Organisations such as the Kreuzberg Initiative against Anti-Semitism (KIgA) are educating people about anti-Semitic stereotypes.

At the same time, those civil society organisations committed to fighting anti-Semitism and providing civic and political education do not have Europe-wide structures and networks. The idea behind the KIgA project is to fill this gap and create better networking in Europe. With the support of the Federal Foreign Office, partner organisations in European countries are to be sought out and invited to a network meeting in October 2019. Furthermore, experiences and concepts are to be gathered and made available in English to a broad public.

A transboundary challenge

Maas talking to the founder of KIgA, Devis Hizarci
Maas talking to the founder of KIgA, Devis Hizarci© Thomas Trutschel/photothek.net

At the first conference in Berlin, participants from 13 EU member states discussed how greater networking can facilitate and bolster the fight against anti-Semitism through education. Attention will also turn to transatlantic cooperation. Parallel to the European network, the transatlantic working group on Jewish-Muslim alliances was launched. It will fight against every form of racism by focusing on interfaith, intercultural as well as transatlantic elements.

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