In a meeting with members of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations yesterday, Pope Francis condemned anti-Semitism, citing the “common roots” Christians share with Jews, JTA reports.
At the meeting, the pope reiterated that the 1965 declaration Nostra Aetate remained the key point of reference for Catholic relations with the Jewish people. The declaration stresses the religious bond shared by Jews and Catholics, reaffirms the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people, and calls for a halt to attempts to convert Jews.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the Pope spoke to each person in attendance individually after his speech, which was well received.
“Pope Francis is a very good friend of the Jewish People and we rejoice in the fact that he will continue to advance the path of his predecessors in deepening the Catholic-Jewish relationship even further,” said Rabbi David Rosen, Director of International Interreligious Affairs at AJC, who took part in the audience.
Still, a new survey reveals that anti-Semitism has been on the rise in European in the past year. The survey, conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, revealed that many European Jews were considering emigration, and a number had already moved to places like Montreal and London:
According to its main findings, 26 percent of Jews have suffered from anti-Semitic harassment at least once in the past year, 34 percent experienced such harassment in the past five years, five percent reported that their property was intentionally vandalized because they are Jewish, about seven percent were physically hurt or threatened in the past five years.
New efforts to combat anti-Semitism, understandably, have taken a decidedly modern approach. Earlier this month, Haaretz reported on a new app created in France designed to aid in the quick removal of anti-Semitic graffiti:
The application released this week by LICRA, the France-based International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, allows users to photograph evidence such as offensive graffiti and send a geo-localized picture to LICRA for processing and removal by the authorities, the news site 20minutes.fr reported. The app also features a panic button that connects users with the police.
It might be useful in other countries as well. Just last week, a memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in Poland was vandalized with the words ‘Jude Raus,’ meaning ‘Jews Out.’