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05/01/2015

International Leading Figures to Participate in Forum and Examine Practical Solutions to rising Anti-Semitism and Racism in Europe

The Fourth International Let My People Live! Forum will take place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps.

On 26th and 27th January 2015, senior politicians, diplomats, global figures and experts from around the world will gather in Prague and Terezin, at the official European Holocaust commemoration, to discuss how to deal with the rise of anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia in Europe at the beginning of the 21st Century.

The two-day event will be hosted by the Government of the Czech Republic in conjunction with the European Jewish Congress (EJC) and the European Parliament. EU leaders, including President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, European Parliament President, several commissioners, more than 20 speakers from European parliaments, as well as experts on legislation, media and cultural figures will attend.

The aim of the Forum is to raise awareness among decision-makers and opinion-shapers from a wide range of European countries on the issue of anti-Semitism, racism and religious radicalism, so that they can work towards creating a legal framework to outlaw effectively these intolerant and dangerous tendencies. Using this Forum as a launch pad, The EJC will lead the process towards creating a practical pan-European legislative framework against racism and hate speech.

“The situation in Europe regarding anti-Semitism, racism and the rise in religious radicalism cannot continue without endangering the mere existence of European Jewish communities and the safety of Europe in general”, Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the EJC, said. “Commemoration alone is not enough. To prevent history repeating itself, we need more than speeches about dark chapters of history. We need to deal with the present challenges we face and safeguard our future.”

The Czech Republic was chosen by the EJC, the main organizer of the Forum, because of its connection to the Holocaust, but also in acknowledgement of its having one of the lowest levels of anti-Semitism found in Europe today.

"The Czech Republic hopes to dedicate this Fourth International Holocaust Forum to the promotion of tolerance and education. It would therefore be my greatest wish, that the Forum provides the crucial political impetus for teaching lessons of the past to young generations, as without such memory there cannot be a peaceful and tolerant tomorrow," said Milos Zeman, President of the Czech Republic.

“We are proud to host an event of such importance in the Czech Republic. Our country has a sad historic experience with anti-Semitism, especially during the Holocaust, when almost 80,000 Jews living on the territory of the current Czech Republic were murdered“ said Rudolf Jindrak, deputy-minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

Independent surveys show that 70 years after liberating the concentration and death camps, anti-Semitism is once again on the rise on the continent.

A 2013 survey of European Jewry, undertaken by the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), demonstrated that 66% of respondents perceived anti-Semitism as a problem in their every-day lives. Almost a third of the respondents were seriously considering emigration from Europe due to safety reasons.

A global poll, carried out by the Anti-Defamation League during 2013 - 2014, undertaken in 100 countries, demonstrated that over 1 billion people around the world harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. This equals 26% of the total number of people surveyed.

In Europe, 29% of the population were identified as anti-Semitic., with wide differences between individual countries - lowest score Sweden, with 4%, highest score Hungary with 41%. The Czech Republic, with 13%, is in the low end of the scale.

On 26th January, a one day conference will be held in Prague, where various panels comprised of representatives from government, media and world civil society will discuss how to oppose the rise of anti-Semitism, racism and extremism from a political, legal and public perspective. A panel of international law experts will review and discuss issues relating to legislation, the panel of politicians will appraise and examine the need for enforcement and shared intelligence, and whether stronger pan-European or international cooperation can assist in reducing hate crimes. The panel of civic and public figures will deal with the role of opinion shapers, cultural figures and the media in combating racism and incitement.

On 27th January, Czech President Milos Zeman will host a special session for global leaders, at Prague Castle, to discuss a roadmap towards fighting growing extremism, racism and intolerance in Europe and around the world. This will follow by the participants traveling to Theresienstadt concentration camp for the official commemoration ceremony.

The European Jewish Congress is the representative organisation of European Jewry. It federates the official leaders of national Jewish communities in over 40 European countries, uniting 2.5 million Jews across the continent.


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