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Making the fight against antisemitic hate speech a priority

Deeply concerned by the rise in hatred and violence against Jewish people in Europe, and particularly by online antisemitism, the Assembly has called on Council of Europe member States to adopt strategies or national action plans to prevent and combat antisemitism, and to allocate sufficient financing to put them into effect.

States should “criminalise the negation, the banalisation, or denial of the Holocaust”, if this is not already the case, and ensure that the desecration of Jewish property and monuments is outlawed.

Adopting a resolution based on a report by Petra Bayr (Austria, SOC), the parliamentarians said laws banning hate speech should be applied fully, and combating antisemitic hate speech online should be given priority, along with the teaching of the Holocaust in secondary schools.

Political parties, for their part, should take strong measures against all forms of antisemitism or hate speech within their ranks, whilst national parliaments should “publicly and resolutely condemn” expressions of antisemitism and other forms of hatred by parliamentarians.

Addressing the parliamentarians during the debate, Ute Steyer, Rabbi of the Great Synagogue of Stockholm, stressed that is "alarming to see how old anti-Jewish Christian sentiments are popping up, reappearing now in new shape among many Muslims and Muslim minority."

The report demonstrates, she added, "the potential pitfalls in the inherent limits of democracy and that there is a dire need to safeguard and to protect the rights of minorities and especially the Jewish minority in Europe".