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SWC to EU Baroness Ashton: “Return Anti-Semitism Definition Document to EU Fundamental Rights Agency Website”

SWC to EU Baroness Ashton: “Return Anti-Semitism Definition Document to EU Fundamental Rights Agency Website”

Tel. +33-147237637 - Fax: +33-147208401

“One can only speculate the reaction to a similar move related to Islamophobia.”

Paris, 6 November 2013

In a letter to European Union Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Catherine Ashton of Upholland (pictured), the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s
Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed shock, “To read on ‘Electronic Intifada’ website that the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) – now renamed the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) – 2004 ‘Working Definition of Anti-Semitism’ has been removed from the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) website.”

The letter noted, “The BBC Trust, in addressing a complaint, had upheld the definition, in characterizing as anti-Semitic, a broadcaster’s critique of comments on Israel made by a Member of the UK Parliament. The Trust has now, apparently, reversed its ruling following the Definition’s removal, claiming:

‘A press officer at the FRA has explained that this was a discussion paper and was never adopted by the EU as a working definition, although it has been on the FRA website until recently when it was removed during a clear-out of non-official documents. The link to the FRA site provided by the complainant in his appeal no longer works.’”

Samuels argued that:

—  the EUMC carried the name 'European Union' in its title and all its published decisions are therefore official documents of the EU

— the FRA, as the successor to the EUMC, carries responsibility for the documents of its predecessor as part of its DNA”

The Centre therefore called on EU Baroness Ashton to:

launch an investigation into the disappearance of the Working Definition and the coincidental change in the FRA website address

— return this important document to the current FRA website

— ensure that the appropriate EU bodies endorse the Working Definition in its entirety

Samuels recalled the “… hard work in negotiating the document and the delay in its publication. Nevertheless, its acceptance and dissemination represented an achievement for the EU in the struggle against anti-Semitism. Indeed, its removal is even more disconcerting just as the FRA is about to issue a further study of the worrying rise in anti-Jewish attacks across Europe.”

The Centre stressed how “especially disturbing it is to read the satisfaction of “Electronic Intifada” that the Jews seem to have been robbed of an EU defence mechanism.”

“One can only speculate the reaction to a similar move related to Islamophobia,” concluded Samuels.

For further information please contact Shimon Samuels on 00 (33) 609770158, join the Center on Facebook,, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament

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