Czech Republic: European legislative heads say anti-Semitism and intolerance must not be tolerated
Calls to combat Islamist radicals and terrorism and to eliminate rising displays of anti-Semitism and intolerance were heard during a two-day international forum in Prague marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. The most dramatic challenge was addressed to the international community by Czech President Miloš Zeman, who warned of the threat of a "super Holocaust" by the radical organization Islamic State at a potential cost of hundreds of millions of lives.
The 30 heads of legislatures who were present in Prague agreed in their "Prague Declaration" that governments, parliaments and society worldwide must adopt a policy of zero tolerance toward anti-Semitism and hate crimes. They recommended the creation of a working group to design draft legislation to strengthen tolerance and eliminate various forms of hatred and incitement to hatred.
In that document, the heads of legislatures expressed great unease over the growing incidents of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Europe in particular. "This is why it is imperative that parliaments, governments, international organizations and civil societies around the world adopt a policy of 'zero tolerance' towards these phenomena," the final text of the declaration, made available to the Czech News Agency, reads.
The elimination of such ills is, according to the authors of the declaration, possible through education, law enforcement, and legislative measures. In order to prepare the relevant legal proposals, the declaration recommends creating an inter-parliamentary group to be convened by the chair of the European Parliament, MEP Martin Schulz.
The starting point for this group could be the "road map" for a defense against the threat of anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism and radical Islam in Europe that was discussed at the two-day forum in Prague. The document proposes 20 steps the world can take to protect against the threat of extremism and terrorism.
It also includes defense and prevention measures, such as proposals for ways to combat these phenomena today. News server Romea.cz publishes below its translation into English of the unofficial Czech translation provided by the Czech News Agency of the so-called "Prague Declaration" adopted by the legislative heads represented at the international forum on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Prague, 27 January 2015
We, the Round Table of chairs of parliaments assembled today in Prague for the commemoration ceremony on the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust express our deep unease at the rise in verbal, digital and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism and crimes of intolerance, primarily in Europe, as well as around the world, that are targeting Jewish individuals and communities, institutions and places of worship.
Those who practice anti-Semitism often charge the Jews with conspiring against humanity, accusing them of being the reason "why something is wrong". This is manifested in speech, writing, visual formats, on social networking sites, through demonstrations and other actions. Current examples of anti-Semitism in public life include distorting and denying the Holocaust, with the aim of harming Jews both worldwide and in the State of Israel.
Many Jews have experienced the impossibility of showing themselves to be Jews in public, out of concern that they might be verbally or physically harmed. These experiences are supported by the recent findings of researchers with recognized NGOs and inter-governmental bodies such as the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (2013).
As heads of parliaments, we want to make it clear that anti-Semitism, like other crimes of intolerance, creates problems for every society in which it might appear. History teaches us that for good to triumph over evil, all it takes is for decent people to remain indifferent, silent, and satisfied with themselves while a few immoral, hateful individuals take power. It is, therefore, fundamentally necessary that parliaments, governments, international organizations and civil society worldwide adopt a policy of "zero tolerance" towards these phenomena.
We believe this is achievable through three approaches: Education, legislation and law enforcement against hate crimes.
The Round Table, therefore, recommends the creation of an inter-parliamentary working group to design legislative proposals strengthening tolerance and eliminating various forms of intolerance and incitement to intolerance in the spirit of this declaration.
We call on the chair of the European Parliament to convene such an assembly.
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