ETUCE Statement: Europe needs a holistic strategy against antisemitism

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The ETUCE Bureau adopted a new ETUCE statement in answer to the Council Declaration on mainstreaming the fight against antisemitism across policy areas. While welcoming the adoption of such an important political document, ETUCE underlines the need for a more coordinated and holistic European strategy against antisemitism and urges the European Commission and member states to undertake effective measures for its implementation. 

The ETUCE Statement echoes the European Council in condemning antisemitism in all its forms as a severe violation of the values of the European society, including human rights, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human dignity and diversity. ETUCE also highlights the crucial role of education to keep the memory alive and educate students to embrace the essential values of our democracy: a society where there is no space for any form of discrimination or hatred.

Commenting on the Statement, ETUCE President, Larry Flanagan, said: “Antisemitism is a pernicious form of racism which has persisted for far too long. It needs to be called out and challenged at every opportunity – not least by those of us involved in education.”.

Education trade unions underline that combating antisemitism requires a holistic strategy. This should also include democratic citizenship education, starting from an early age as a tool to promote the fundamental values of democracy, freedom, tolerance, non-discrimination, equality and solidarity. Nevertheless, ETUCE regrets that the anti-racism measures proposed in the field of education, such as the new Skills Agenda and the European Education Area, remain vague and theoretical, while the new European Democracy Action Plan attributes only a side role to education. Therefore, ETUCE urges member states to implement measures supporting teachers with adequate training, sufficient funding for implementation and up-to-date materials on how to develop pedagogically tailored methods that promote democratic citizenship, inclusion and diversity in education and address the challenges of an increasingly diverse European society.

An effective holistic strategy against antisemitism must also implement and support a meaningful social dialogue with education trade unions in the fight against antisemitism and intolerance. Having education personnel’s voice represented in the discussions on mainstreaming the fight against antisemitism across policy areas on European, national, and local levels, is an important step towards a future where any form of antisemitism, racism, hate as well as its dissemination and violence are rejected and condemned.

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