On April 7th, 2014 the AJC Berlin Ramer Institute and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation hosted a meeting of the European Forum on Anti-Semitism. Over 20 Jewish leaders from 12 European countries came together to discuss the challenges and concerns that their communities currently face on the eve of European Union parliamentary elections. Participants discussed unsettling new trends in European Jewish life, including the spread of Holocaust trivialization and the impact of French comedian Dieudonné’s Hitler adulation, persistent problems with violent anti-Semitic attacks from extremist Muslim perpetrators, the impact of anti-Semitic stereotypes in the Muslim world in the classroom and other areas of public life, security issues related to deadly terrorist attacks such as those in Toulouse and Sofia, historical revisionism in the depiction of the Holocaust, rising support for right-wing nationalist parties in France, Greece, and Hungary and spreading efforts on a European scale to ban kosher slaughter and circumcision. At the event, Jewish leaders updated one another on these and other trends, exchanging best practice techniques that can be used to ensure the security of Jewish communities and institutions.
At a public event that followed the main session, German State Minister for European Affairs Michael Roth delivered a keynote address, in which he called on European governments to take new transnational approaches in their efforts to combat anti-Semitism. Roth stressed that European governments must hold themselves accountable for failures to protect democracy, minority rights, and cultural pluralism. As he concluded his speech, Roth praised AJC for its tireless efforts to protect minority rights and advance democratic values, emphatically declaring that, “without such NGOs Europe would look different or perhaps worse.”