6 November, 2014

ANTISEMITISM? NOT on my Internet

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Category: Antisemitism, European Action Day, Fascism
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FB PROFILE SHIELDWhy a European Action Day against Fascism and Antisemitism?

Europe as we know it today is built on the ashes of the Holocaust, and institutions were created in order to prevent Europe from perpetrating and witnessing similar horrors ever again. Much effort has gone into developing legal mechanisms and fostering civil societies who reject discrimination, racism and fascism. However, the rise of extreme and populist parties as well as growing hate of all shades confronts us with the stark reality that much must still be done in order to achieve a tolerant, inclusive European society.

Reflecting on the darkest parts of Europe’s history, the 9th of November commemorates the “Kristallnacht” or “Novemberprogrome”. During the night of November 9–10 1938, the Nazis staged violent pogroms — state sanctioned riots — against the Jewish communities of Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland. Kristallnacht was a turning point in the NSDAP’s anti-Semitic policy that would culminate in the Holocaust—the systematic, state-sponsored mass murder of the European Jews. Anti-Semitism however was not invented by Nazis.  Anti-Semitism (ethnic/racial) and anti-Judaism (religious beliefs and practices)  have infected Europe for millenia, and have maintained stubborn roots that have evolved and persist to this day.

Today’s Europe is experiencing worrisome developments on many levels: Extremist and radicalized voices of varying ideologies are becoming louder both on Europe’s street and in our parliaments. Minority groups are increasingly victims of harassment or even hate crimes. Over the past years, anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic attacks have been on the rise in the majority of European countries. Calls to ban religious slaughter and ritual circumcision (e.g. Poland, Denmark) threaten the religious practice of both Muslims and Jews, attempts to “whitewash” history and distort the facts of the Holocaust by nationalist groups (e.g. Hungary’s Fidesz party and their “German Occupation Memorial”) are on the rise and there have been deadly terror attacks on Jews in Toulouse (2012) and Brussels (2014). In the United Kingdom during the summer of 2014, the reported anti-Semitic attacks rose by 400%, compared to last year’s data. (Source: http://rt.com/uk/184976-rise-anti-semitism-britain/). In France nearly twice as many  anti-Semitic actions or threats were registered up to the end of July, against the same period of last year. (Source: http://www.crif.org/fr/actualites/communiqu%C3%A9-du-spcj-%C2%AB-antis%C3%A9mitisme-en-france-%C2%BB-du-1er-janvier-au-31-juillet-2014/52662 )

The Action Day on 9 November aims at tackling fascism and anti-Semitism. On the one hand, this document aims to give an insight on what fascism and anti-Semitism mean supported with some statistical data, on the other hand, it provides some information on the historical backgrounds of the Action Day.

Why 9 November?  “Kristallnacht”- The Night of Broken Glass

9 November commemorates the “Kristallnacht” aka “The Night of Broken Glass” or the “Novemberpogrome”, which is also considered as symbol of the beginning of the Holocaust. This night in 1938 involved an organized destruction of thousands of Jewish businesses and homes in Munich, as well as the beating and murder of Jewish people. Joseph Goebbels, Nazi minister of propaganda, ordered it as a revenge for the earlier act of a 17-year-old German Jewish refugee, Herschel Grynszpan, who shot and killed a German ambassador, Ernst vom Rath. Grynszpan had intended to prevent the deportation of his father to Poland and the ongoing persecution of Jews in Germany by killing the German ambassador.

During the Night of Broken Glass Goebbels ordered “spontaneous demonstrations” of protest against the Jewish citizens of Munich. The order laid out the blueprint for the destruction of Jewish homes and businesses. The local police were not to interfere with the rioting storm troopers, and as many Jews as possible were to be arrested with an eye toward deporting them to concentration camps. The night is called “Kristallnacht” because of the numerous broken shop windows and the shattered glass on the ground.

Objectives of the European Action Day

  • To raise awareness about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, extremism, and the dangers these movements represent to the European society;

  • To call for action against anti-Semitic and fascist hate speech online and offline, and to propose ways in which youth organisations and young people themselves can take steps towards a more inclusive, tolerant society.

  • To discuss and learn about the manifestations of anti-Semitism.

  • To promote engagement with  Jewish culture and communities.

  • To give a voice to young people who experienced anti-Semitism and fascism, and create a safe space to share experiences and best practices.

  • To provide a platform and visibility for youth organisations and young people to express their commitment and wish for an inclusive society.

  • To commemorate the Kristallnacht carried out by the Nazis throughout Germany and Austria on November 9-10, 1938. (Commemorative efforts online and offline together with all the campaign committees involved in the NHSM)

 

Partners to be involved in the action day:

  • UNITED: their campaign will mainly focus on getting statements of people on this day and their firm stand against fascism and anti-Semitism. The statements will be shared on the website and social media. They will also create and publish a map displaying actions at local level in Europe.  www.dayagainstfacism.eu
  • The National Campaign Committee with the support of the EEA Norway Funds and the Polish Batory Foundation are organising a Forum in Warsaw.
  • EUJS: European Union of Jewish Students (http://www.eujs.org/) and WUJS: World Union of Jewish Students (http://wujs.org.il/) will assist in developing the informational and educational material.
  • ENAR: European Network Against Racism (http://www.enar-eu.org/)

For receommended actions click on the Action Day box in the right upper corner of the main page ofhis website.


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