EU to Fund Efforts to Help Jews Feel Safer as Polls Show 1 in 3 Considering Emigration

The European Union announced plans on Tuesday to provide funds to prevent discrimination against Jews by protecting places of worship, educating on the Holocaust and monitoring hate speech and harassment, the Associated Press reported.

Europe's Fundamental Rights Agency reported that nine out of 10 Jews believe antisemitism is a serious problem and has increased in their country. As a result, more than one in three people have considered emigrating.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that "the strategy we are presenting today is a step change in how we respond to antisemitism. Europe can only prosper when its Jewish communities feel safe and prosper."

The plan will provide European Union funds to support member countries to develop their own strategies and course of action against discrimination. The plan is estimated to take about a decade to completely implement.

The funding will be used for a variety of projects, such as providing safe places of worship, delete online hate speech, educate on the reality of the Holocaust, and provide public places of safety for those seeking refuge.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

EU funding to keep Jews safe
The European Union plans funding to help end discrimination against Jews. Above, Jewish children with Belgian soldiers on January 24, 2015, in Antwerp, Belgium. Virginia Mayo/Associated Press

The EU's executive branch, the European Commission, said it was presenting what amounts to the first strategy of its kind given the "persistence and a significant increase of anti-Semitic incidents" around the 27-country bloc.

The aim is to set up a Europe-wide network of "trusted flaggers" along with Jewish organizations to help remove illegal online hate speech. Brussels will also work with industry and IT companies to prevent the illegal display and sale of Nazi-related symbols, memorabilia and literature online.

Funding will be provided to better protect public spaces and places of worship to help Jewish people feel safer, with 24 million euros ($28 million) available already next year. Other steps will be taken to safeguard Jewish heritage, and raise awareness about Jewish culture, life and traditions.

One in 20 Europeans has never heard of the Holocaust, so the commission also wants to try to keep memory of the genocide alive by creating a network of sites "where the Holocaust happened" in cooperation with local communities.

About 6 million European Jews and millions of other people were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.

Another focus of the plan is to ensure that EU aid and development funds that go abroad cannot be used for activities that might incite hatred and violence against the Jewish people.

EU funding to keep Jews safe
The European Union plans funding to help end discrimination against Jews. Above, two ultra-Orthodox men on February 4, 2021, in Antwerp, Belgium. Virginia Mayo/Associated Press