9th of November marks the Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) pogrom in 1938, which saw the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings and synagogues being smashed and up to 30,000 Jewish men arrested and sent to local prisons and concentration camps. Therefore, Kristallnacht figures as an essential turning point in the persecution of the Jewish people, which culminated in the Holocaust, during which 6 million Jewish people, 500,000 Roma and other “enemies of the nazi regime” (LGBTQI, people with disabilities, various religious minorities) were murdered. This reminds us that the atrocities did not start with concentration camps, but began with hate speech and hate crime.
Unfortunately, Anti Semitism and Fascism have not left Europe after the end of WWII. Today, racist groups are widely spread across Europe, and perpetuate hate crime against the Jewish community, migrants, Muslims, Roma, LGBTQI, people living with disabilities and other minorities. Anti-Semitic hate speech in particular has been increasing since the COVID-19 outbreak and has been further exacerbated by conspiracy theories, fake news and click bait information shared online, making Jewish people vulnerable to hate speech, harassment, vandalism and physical violence.
Worryingly, the recent EU-wide survey on Antisemitism survey shows a big discrepancy between the general public’s and Jewish people’s perceptions of Antisemitism: while the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) reports that 90% of Jewish people feel that Antisemitism is rising, only 36% of the general public consider it to be the case. In addition, FRA study revealed that one in three people avoid visiting Jewish events or sites because they do not feel safe.
The No Hate Speech Network is deeply concerned with the increasing xenophobia and religious-based intolerance, which especially affects the Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe. We encourage reporting and investigation of xenophobic incidents and call on the policymakers to invest in human rights education of the young people to equip them with tools to counter negative narratives and stereotypes and to make and apply laws that defend marginalised groups from harm and violence Effective combatting of Fascism, Antisemitism and any form of religious discrimination is essential if we want to live in diverse and peaceful societies. It is essential to effectively combat Fascism, Antisemitism and any form of religious discrimination if we want to live in diverse and peaceful societies.