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“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, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed shock that “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 Antisemitism’ has been removed from the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) website.”

The letter noted that “the BBC Trust, in addressing a complaint, had upheld the Definition,in characterizing as antisemitic, 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 
- to return this important document to the current FRA website 
- to 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 antisemitism. 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.