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NEWSLETTERS - Newsletters

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Please find an overview of the events B'nai B'rith Europe contributed to over the last months:

"Israel: Europe’s frontline", 17 November 2016, Il Foglio/BBE, Rome

The conference was organised by Daniel Citone on 17 November 2016 together with the newspaper Il Foglio. Among the speakers were Tsipi Livni (former Israeli ministry of Foreign affairs, the French Imam, Hassan Chalghoumi, Daniel Brinbaum, Sodastream CEO etc. The conference promoted the idea that Europe’s future is closely tight to Israel’s, as its outpost in the Middle East.

Il foglio

" High Level Group on combatting Racism, Xenophobia and other forms of Intolerance” Brussels, 7 December 2016

With the increase of xenophobic speech in the EU countries, the European Commission DG Justice and Consumers has decided to address the matter, nominating in October 2015 two coordinators: one in charge of combating “anti-Muslim hatred” and the other of combating Antisemitism. BBE and BBI have been meeting regularly with the latest, Ms Katharina Von Schnurbein.

In view of fighting the increase of hate speech, DG Justice is considering to produce a new regulation directed towards social networks, as a mean to prevent and punish it. In order to start the reflecting process, the Commission has chosen a “co-regulating” model, consisting of a non-binding set of rules drafted together with private sector companies, in the same way it had been done for publishers. The companies represented (the “IT companies”) are Facebook, Google (for Youtube content), Twitter and Microsoft etc. This is how on May 31st 2016 a code of conduct on countering illegal hate speech online was adopted.

The text involves the IT companies to: Have in place clear and effective processes to review notifications regarding illegal hate speech on their services and remove or disable access to such content within 24 hours, to educate and raise awareness with their users about xenophobic messages and have specific provisions regarding hate speech in their terms and conditions. Train their staff to review notifications. Assess regularly the impact of these rules.

On 7 December 2016, all Members States Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs representatives, NGOs such as Amnesty International, BBI and BBE (represented by Vice-President, Valerie Achache), European representatives for Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft, had been invited by European Commissioner to Justice Vera Jourova, to the “High Level Group on combatting Racism, Xenophobia and other forms in intolerance”, which convenes twice a year.

Commissioner Jurova explained that this topic was a priority for DG Justice, hinting that the code of conduct would potentially lead to a European binding legislation engaging publishers’ responsibility in case of breach. Indeed, engaging publishers’ responsibility is a more efficient means to fight against illegal messages or photography, than merely pursuing authors.

This however is extremely time and money consuming since messages are numerous and offenders often use fake identities.

European Jewish Leaders conference, 23 January 2017, EJA, Brussels

daniel citone 23 janvier 2017

Daniel Citone attended this conference along many other Jewish leaders, he had a chance to present BBE's activities such as our participation in the Jewish Heritage Days. The EU Coordinator on anti-Semitism, Katharina Von Schnurbein, and US State Department adviser on anti-Semitism, Holly Huffnagle, both posited the risks of far-right groups in Europe attempting to legitimise themselves by posing as “friends of Israel”.

They also both drew attention on a better recognition of antisemitic crimes. In her address, Von Schnurbein slammed a German court ruling that an arson attack on a synagogue in Wuppertal was an expression of anti-Israel protest and not anti-Semitism. In its ruling, the Dusseldorf High Court found no procedural errors in the 2015 and 2016 trials against three men of Palestinian descent for felony arson against the synagogue. Von Schnurbein, who spoke on a panel exploring “The new anti-Semitism,” said: ‘’In my opinion, throwing Molotov cocktails into a synagogue is always anti-Semitism.’’

Europe and Israel 2017: Challenges, Opportunities & Moving Forward Prague 6-7 March 2017

Daniel Citone representing BBE attended a two-day international conference focusing on Israel’s ties with Europe. Some 200 members of the Czech Parliament, senior government officials, members of academia, civil society, students, the Jewish community, Christian supporters and other opinion leaders attended the event, hosted by the Czech Friends of Israel Association under the title “Israel and Europe 2017: Challenges, Opportunities and Moving Forward.”