A Jewish Youth Voice within the “New Antisemitism in Europe” Conference

Alina Bricman represented EUJS at the “New Antisemitism” Conference that took place in the European Parliament, on 7 December. The event was hosted by MEP Péter Niedermüller, Member of the Delegation for relations with Israel and co-hosted by MEP Heinz K. Becker, Chair of the European Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism and MEP Fulvio Martusciello, Chair of the Delegation for relations with Israel.

The cross-party effort was room for an insightful and multi-faceted discussion. The conference was organized into two panels. A distinguished panel of academics and representatives of Jewish advocacy organizations dealt with “The new Antisemitism in politics”. The panel featured: Jonathan Rosenzweig – Mission of Israel to the EU & NATO, David Hirsh – Senior Lecturer in Sociology and author of the book Contemporary Left Antisemitism; Raya Kalenova – Executive Vice-President of the European Jewish Congress; Antony Lerman – Senior Fellow of Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue and Daniel Schwammenthal – Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute.

The second panel, “New Antisemitism and the young generation”, moderated by Michael Sieveking from AJC, brought together Jewish young activists and representatives from different European backgrounds to explore challenges and solutions in dealing with this sensitive topic fromthe youth’s perspective. Alina Bricman launched the debate, focusing not only on the different forms antisemitism takes on in Europe these days, but also on what EUJS is doing and “what we believe the role of youth should be”. In this regard, Alina stressed that “A positive Jewish identity is vital and should not be defined by antisemitism”. In her concluding remarks, the IHRA working definition, the European Commission Code of Conduct and the upcoming EU Fundamental Rights Agency survey were mentioned as essential tools in combating antisemitism.

Samuel Lejoyeux, National Treasurer of the Jewish Student Union of France (UEJF), emphasized the importance of finding resourceful ways of dealing with online hate speech which he considers to be “the challenge of our generation.” while Dalia Grinfeld, President of the Jewish Student Union Germany (JSUD) brought secondary antisemitism to the attention of the audience. “Secondary antisemitism is on the rise. In Germany, 40% of the population are latent anti-Semitic”, she said, while stressing the need for proper education on Judaism. Concerning the Muslim antisemitism reality in Germany, she stated that “it has to be tackled within the Muslim community but unfortunately, no one wants to talk about it”.

The panel was a remarkable opportunity to present a youth perspective on the challenges antisemitism poses to Jewish students in Europe, as well as to bring new approaches into the discussion, highlighting the relevance of engaging young people in this shared effort.

We once again thank Mr. Niedermüller, Mr. Becker and Mr. Martusciello for their gracious invitation!