This weekend in the heart of Europe has been a stark and symbolic reminder of what is at stake for the future of social cohesion in this grand and visionary project of the European Union.
On the eve of European and Belgian elections, a gunman opened fire in the Jewish Museum of Brussels, killing 4 people. It is probably the worst incident of anti-semitic hate crime seen in Belgium since WWII.
The European Union was born in the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust with the purpose of sustaining peaceful relations in a land which had been twice torn apart by war in the first half of the 20th century. There was a general shock in the self-realisation of how much anti-semitic complicity enabled Hitler to enact his genocidal mission against the Jewish people, with Roma, homosexuals, disabled people also victims in his crusade. Remorse was translated into a sense of political and public responsibility.
CEJI’s Director Robin Sclafani says,
”I hope they can finally hear the alarm this time for what is a wake-up call that has been snoozed too many times already.”
CEJI urges our Belgian and European political representatives to implement the following measures:
- Adequate European wide security measures for vulnerable Jewish institutions and buildings. This need is more pressing than ever and it is a responsibility of the state to keep its people safe.
- Comprehensive hate crime monitoring which is a crucial part of the process of understanding, preventing and responding to anti-semitism and other forms of bias motivated violence.
- Obligatory educational curriculum against anti-Semitism, racism and all forms of hatred which is absolutely essential to give room to the many cultures and religions in Europe.