European rabbis call for law targeting anti-Semitic hate speech

28 October 2014. European rabbis have called on governments throughout the continent to pass laws targeting hate speech against Jews.

The call was made in a resolution passed by the standing committee of the WJC affiliated Conference of European Rabbis, or CER, which convened last week in Tbilisi, Georgia.“We call on additional countries to follow the example set by France and Germany, and devise legislation that targets hate speech against Jews specifically,” said CER President and WJC vice-President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt.

“It is something that few countries have but is necessary in light of the rise in anti-Semitic violence and hate speech, as we have witnessed this summer,” Goldschmidt said in reference to a surge in anti-Semitic expressions throughout Western Europe that coincided with Israel’s war in Gaza. The fight against attempts in Europe to ban non-medical circumcision of boys and kosher slaughter of animals was also a high priority for the committee, Goldschmidt said.

A draft resolution calling for the establishment of an inter-European authority that would certify clergy to combat religious hate speech was suggested but was not passed by the committee, which has over 25 members.

The meeting in Tbilisi was the first time that CER held an event in Georgia, and it coincided with government-sponsored celebrations of 2,600 years of coexistence between Jews and non-Jews in Georgia. “We saw banners in Hebrew and Jewish signs all over the city,” Goldschmidt said. CER also met with Georgian officials, including Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, who, at 32, is one of the world’s youngest heads of state. Glodschmidt reported that Garibashvili spoke of his high regard for Israel and Jewish culture during the meeting.

Editorial remarks

Source: World Jewish Congress