Statement by MEP Nicola Beer, Chair of the Working Group Against Antisemitism
“The coronavirus crisis is fuelling antisemitism across Europe. Fake news, targeted false reports and hate speech are booming in the current crisis. There has been a glaring rise in antisemitic stereotypes, and prejudice and hostility are not only being spread online, but have also become visible in the public sphere. As Chair of the Working Group against Antisemitism in the European Parliament, I strongly warn that we must not turn a blind eye to these abuses. Therefore, I call for measures to be taken in the fight against antisemitism at the European level.”
The monitoring platforms supported by the European Commission and the work of the StratCom task force at the European External Action Service entrusted with the detection of fake news by state actors have not yet proven sufficient. Above all, we must ensure that previously missing specialist staff are deployed for this task since antisemitic disinformation cannot always be easily detected.
In addition, the working definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) must continue to be endorsed and applied in the Member States at all levels. We are currently looking at diverging levels of engagement with the working definition in the EU Member States. This needs to change.
To this end, the EU should upgrade the role of the European Fundamental Rights Agency as an institution that promotes the use the IHRA working definition as a standard to identify antisemitic incidents. Only thus can we uncover antisemitic manifestations that hide behind criticism of the State of Israel or obscure claims of alleged Jewish conspiracies.
We will only be able to succeed in combating antisemitism if we look beyond the EU. It is therefore of the utmost importance to broaden the geographical focus of countries which use political propaganda to promote their political goals to include Iran alongside Russia. I therefore call on the EU as a global player to extend disinformation monitoring to Iran in order to send a strong signal against antisemitism.”