7 May 2013: The Jewish Contribution to the European Integration Project – Centre for the Study of European Politics and Society – Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
An annual workshop
Convened by the “Centre for the Study of European Politics and Society and the Department of Politics and Government” (CSEPS). It’s purpose is to examine and discuss the Jewish contribution to the on-going European integration project.
Dr. Sharon Pardo, Director Centre for the Study of European Politics and Society, Jean Monnet National Centre of Excellence at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Dr. Hubertusvon Morr, Ambassador (ret), Lecturer in International Law and Political Science, Bonn University.
Mr. Franco Burgio, Programme Coordinator European Commission, Brussels.
Mr. Michael Mertes, Director Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Israel.
Ambassador Alvaro Albacete, Envoy of the Spanish Government for Relations with the Jewish Community and Jewish Organisations.
Dr. Dov Maimon, Jewish People Policy Institute, Israel.
Mr. Andras Baneth, Co-founder European Training Academy, Belgium.
Extract from the opening address
The Jew has always been deemed to have competing loyalties and affiliations, being a member of a religion, an ethnic group, and even at one point a ‘race’. To the extent, therefore, that the European integration project is creating a similar crisis at the heart of European citizenry, today all Europeans are, in some metaphorical sense, Jews.
Interestingly enough, this metaphorical sense is not lost on EU leadership, who often speak of the need to learn from the history of European Jews and draw on European Jewry as a model for emulation within the EU.
As Romano Prodi, former President of the European Commission and former Italian Prime Minister has put it: “I believe we can learn a lot from the history of the Jews of Europe. In many ways they are the first, the oldest Europeans… We, the new Europeans, are just starting to learn the complex art of living with multiple allegiances – allegiance to our home town, to our own region, to our home country, and now to the European Union. The Jews have been forced to master this art since antiquity. They were both Jewish and Italian, or Jewish and French, Jewish and Spanish, Jewish and Polish, Jewish and German. Proud of their ties with Jewish communities throughout the continent and equally proud of their bonds with their own country.”
In fact, the EU leadership views European Jewry as somehow the constitutive minority of the Union, despite or rather precisely because the most patently historical link between the European project and European Jewry is the Second World War.
After all, the EU was born out of the atrocities of the past as an effort to reconcile the religious, cultural and linguistic differences of Europe.
Moreover, to the extent that religious tensions continue to affect the European space, the EU leaders expect the Jewish communities to take a central role in improving and promoting inter-religious and inter-community relations in the EU.
In practical terms, this means an expectation that European Jewish communities work to improve their relations with the Muslim communities in all EU Member States, and that Jews living in the EU Member States broaden their struggle against anti-Semitism to include other categories of racial and religious discrimination, including of course Islamophobia.
Another expectation that the EU has from its Jewish communities regards Israel. The EU views the Jewish communities as a broker that brings it closer to Israel, or in ther words, as a bridge between the EU and Israel. EU leadership expects the Jewish communities to assist the EU institutions in cementing the ties with Israel.
Gaining a better understanding of just what is on-going in the European Community see: http://www.kas.de/wf/doc/kas_36349-1522-1-30.pdf?131211155732