On the 11th of May 2021, B’nai B’rith Europe had the honour of taking part in The EPP Working Group on intercultural and religious dialogue webinar with the focus on Antisemitism in Europe. The webinar was initiated by MEPs, Co-Chairmans of the Working group on Intercultural and Religious Dialogue, György Hölvényi and Jan Olbrycht.
European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish life, Katharina von Schnurbein gave an overview of the European Commission’s policies and strategies aiming to foster Jewish life in Europe. Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Anti-Semitism, Dr Felix Klein shared an analysis on the different forms of antisemitism and presented the efforts deployed by his country to combat antisemitism. Director of the European Jewish Community Centre, Rabbi Avi Tawil shared insights about Dialogue in relation to the Sefirat Haomer concept.
He was followed by B’nai B’rith Europe’s Executive Managing Director, Hanna Kalmenson who underlined the role of culture to deconstruct stereotypes: “Judaism has nothing to do with the Shoah or antisemitism. It is a rich intangible cultural heritage that is fully integrated into the European identity”. She mentioned the European Days of Jewish culture, a project of AEPJ – the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage, an organization founded by B’nai B’rith Europe among others. She also underlined the crucial role of intercultural dialogue as a means to overcome antisemitism and insisted that it should be broaden and deepened: ” if intercultural dialogue does exist in Europe today, it should not only preach to the converted or address only the politically correct topics…(it) must be institutionalized at all levels of governance”.
She then passed the floor to Melissa Sonnino, Facing Facts Coordinator at CEJI – A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe, who offered an overview on the NOA project (Networks Overcoming Antisemitism), a project supported by the European Commission, in which B’nai B’rith Europe is actively involved. She also gave an insight on Facing facts and Belieforama – two other projects led by CEJI, tailored to combat antisemitism on different levels.
B’nai B’rith Europe would like to thank EPP for being given the opportunity of joining such an inspiring event.