• The 2014 European Elections – A Jewish Manifesto

    EU Manifesto Cover smallThe 2014 European Parliament Election will take place on 22 May 2014 in the United Kingdom.

    These elections matter. The EU makes up to 50% of laws enacted in the UK and controls an annual budget of around €150 billion (or £125 billion).

    This manifesto is aimed at informing existing and prospective Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) about Jewish interests and concerns. The Board of Deputies hopes that the manifesto will empower our elected representatives to understand and champion these causes. Some of these are live topics, whereas others are matters that could potentially arise. In each section, the manifesto outlines in bold the commitments that the Board of Deputies would like to see from MEPs, summarised below.

    Executive Summary: Key Jewish Aspirations in Europe

    We ask our MEPs and prospective MEPs to commit to the following:

    1. Religious Freedom

    • MEPs should defend religious freedom in the European Union and around the World.
    • MEPs should promote a culture of respect for diversity, including reasonable accommodation of individuals’ rights to wear religious symbols and observe religious festivals and the Jewish Sabbath.
    • MEPs should defend the right of Jews to practice Shechita (religious slaughter of animals for food.)
    • MEPs should not stigmatise religious or other minorities through labelling. If it is genuinely consumer choice that is desired, all methods of slaughter should be labelled.
    • MEPs should defend the right of Jews to practice circumcision.
    • MEPs should advance the cause of human rights across the World.
    • MEPs should support the EU and Member States in recognising the diversity of different denominations within Judaism, drawing on expert advice where necessary.

    2. Extremism, Racism & Antisemitism in Europe

    • MEPs should be alert to extremism, racism and antisemitism in Europe.
    • MEPs should support coordination between member states to prevent and prosecute hate crimes and acts of terrorism.
    • MEPs should act on the concerning findings from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) report, including unreservedly condemning antisemitism in all its forms and challenging member states who do not address and monitor antisemitism.
    • MEPs should look to secure adequate assistance and funding to European institutions such as the EU’s FRA, ensuring that it is able to conduct its survey of Jewish experiences and perceptions of a ntisemitism in the EU every five years as planned.
    • MEPs should be particularly wary of the risk of increased antisemitism at times of heightened conflict in the Middle East.
    • MEPs should be alive to hate as expressed on new social media.
    • MEPs should help to ensure that assistance is provided to third-party reporting bodies and security agencies that monitor and protect vulnerable groups, including the Jewish community.
    • MEPs should support initiatives which promote dialogue and understanding between different groups in society, to prevent tensions and promote cooperation.

    3. Post-Holocaust Issues

    • MEPs should lend their support to Holocaust education, remembrance and research.
    • MEPs and prospective MEPs should take the time to show solidarity with all the victims of Nazi persecution, including Jews, Roma, homosexuals, disabled people and political opponents of Nazism.
    • MEPs should use the moral authority of their position to call for a just and speedy conclusion to the issue of restitution across Europe and to press the institutions of the European Union to do the same.
    • MEPs should challenge their European colleagues on those narratives that seek to minimise or downplay the Holocaust.
    • MEPs should support initiatives to find unmarked graves, including helping to unlock EUfunding and working with MEP colleagues from other countries to overcome some of the bureaucratic and political obstacles to this work.

    4. EU-Israel Relations

    • MEPs should promote peace, security, prosperity and equality for Israel and its neighbours.
    • MEPs should mobilise EU structures to promote Middle East peace at both the leadership level and at the grassroots.
    • MEPs should oppose boycotts of Israel, which are divisive and promote a negative incentive structure that militates against peace.
    • MEPs should be aware of the uniquely complicated threats to Israel’s security, and should encourage EU institutions to take account of these threats.
    • MEPs should raise concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme, its financing of international terror and its human rights record with the the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
    • MEPs should act to proscribe Hezbullah in its entirety, damaging its abilities to launch attacks in Europe, the Middle East and around the World.
    • MEPs should refuse to meet with Hamas politicians, officials or supporters, until the movement recognises Israel; agrees to abide by previous agreements; and desists from terrorist attacks.
    • MEPs should support and nurture the growing trade between Israel and the European Union.
    • MEPs should be constructive partners in the pursuit of greater integration and equality in Israel by offering financial and political support to initiatives aimed at Arab-Jewish coexistence, and helping to support projects that empower and advance the position of Arab citizens within Israeli society.
    • MEPs should call on the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to ensure that international institutions such as the UNHRC act with integrity and do not disproportionately focus on Israel.

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