NOA Belgian Report Card Findings Now Available!
“Antisemitism is a structural pillar of racism, and racism will not be eradicated without overcoming antisemitism. By acknowledging existing gaps and opportunities in current national policy and making a concerted, coordinated effort to prevent and counter antisemitism and racism, a clearer path can be opened towards a more inclusive and equitable society.” – Robin Sclafani, Director of CEJI – A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe.
On 15 June, the NOA Belgian Report Card was launched. The NOA Belgian Report Card showcases the current national policy landscape in 10 areas: culture, education, hate crime, hate speech, Holocaust remembrance, intercultural dialogue, media, religious freedom, security, and sport. The research demonstrates that there is still much the Belgian government can and should do to combat antisemitism. There appears to be resistance amongst policymakers to pass specific measures or to honour commitments made at the national or European Union level, including plans for a national coordinator to combat antisemitism. This is despite the 2018 Resolution by the Belgian Senate which essentially laid out the road map for a first national action plan against antisemitism, including a call for a national coordinator on the matter.
The report uncovered the following key findings:
- The country is strongest in legislation addressing the more serious and escalated forms of antisemitism, such as laws concerning security, hate crime, and hate speech. It is weakest in implementation measures aimed at preventing discrimination that targets Jewish people and communities.
- The policy area that scored the lowest—by a substantial margin—is undoubtedly the most important: education. This indicates a considerable opportunity for positive growth and development with long-term impact.
- The five policy areas that received the highest scores are (in descending order): security, religious freedom, hate crime, Holocaust remembrance, and hate speech. This demonstrates that on basic safety and security issues, the country is doing relatively well.
- The only areas to receive a 100% score were related to Holocaust denial and distortion in hate speech and hate crime legislation. This highlights a disparity between the treatment of past trauma and current challenges.
- Overall, the state has done little to address antisemitism as a specific type of racism worthy of targeted interventions alongside of and/or incorporated into greater public efforts.
Katarina Von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator on Combatting Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life, noted that ‘it is great to see this EU-funded project coming to fruition. The NOA Score Cards help to detect strengths and weaknesses in preventing and addressing antisemitism across 10 policy areas from education to security and sports. This will allow for targeted and specific action.’
You can also find the agenda of the conference, speaker biographies, and highlighted quotes from speakers at the conference page here.
CEJI Director and Lead Researcher Robin Sclafani was interviewed on BX1 following the NOA Belgian Report Card Conference. In the interview, she discussed the launch of the NOA Belgian Report Card and the series of recommendations made by the report. The interview can be found here.
On Radio Judaica, B’nai B’rith Europe Director Hanna Kalmenson presented the NOA Project and the findings of the Belgian Report Card. The interview can be found here.
ABOUT THE NOA PROJECT
NOA – Networks Overcoming Antisemitism offers a pioneering approach to tackling the problem of rising antisemitism in Europe. With its unique partnership of major Jewish networks, the NOA Report Card benchmarks EU Member States’ policies across 10 policy areas and helps them to develop holistic national action plans to address and prevent antisemitism and foster Jewish life. For more information, see: www.noa-project.eu
NOA Partners include:
ABOUT CEJI – LEAD PARTNER, NOA PROJECT
CEJI – A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe stands with people of all backgrounds to promote a Europe of diversity and respect. A Jewish voice at the European level, our activities include delivering diversity education and enhancing interfaith and intercultural dialogue while advocating in the EU against antisemitism and discrimination of all kinds.
For more information, see: www.ceji.org.