The European Parliament Working Group Against Antisemitism (WGAS) and the European Jewish Congress (EJC) held a special screening of “Simone Veil, a Woman of the Century” with the participation of renowned French philosopher, filmmaker and playwright Bernard-Henri Lévy on the 24th of January 2023 to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Dr Ariel Muzicant and Vice President of the European Parliament and Chair of WGAS Nicola Beer addressed the 400 guests, including ambassadors, MEPs and EU high-level officials, who gathered to remember the Holocaust and honour the memory of Simone Veil.
“As we look back in time, we have to remind ourselves to never forget about what happened all these years ago, to honour those who suffered and to prevent such terrible crimes from ever happening again,” said Vice President of the European Parliament and Chair of the Working Group against Antisemitism Nicola Beer. “Sadly, in today’s world, we still have to fight against antisemitism and religious discrimination, but I am determined that it is a fight worth fighting.”
“What we can do, however, is celebrate occasions such as Holocaust Remembrance Week, we can celebrate and honour people like Simone Veil, we can fight the fight together. Every single person in this room can do something, speak up, create awareness, fight for justice, and not ignore what should be blatantly obvious to everyone- making people feel unwelcome or inadequate due to their religion, their beliefs, their appearance or any other criteria is not only heartless, it is inacceptable.”
During his remarks, French philosopher, filmmaker and playwright Bernard-Henri Lévy spoke about his feelings on the current state of antisemitism, intolerance and discrimination.
“I’m pessimistic and optimistic. Of course, antisemitism has not disappeared and certainly reinvents itself, because now it’s all about Israel,” Lévy said. “In this sense, I see the way the devil reincarnates itself at every step of our history. However, I’m also optimistic because there are strong forces of resistance against it, being led by Jewish organizations, like the EJC, which holds firm and delivers on its pledge to fight antisemitism. This didn’t exist 40 years ago.”
“There is a pride, a self-affirmation and a calm about the new way of being a Jew today, especially when I think how undefended the Jews were when I was a teenager, when we had no weapons, and many were even ashamed of being a Jew. When you are ashamed and shy, and you don’t dare to accept your identity, you are vulnerable.”