Jewish Life and Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Europe

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Israeli Minister of Finance Yair Lapid inaugurate an international conference organized by the Tom Lantos Institute in Budapest

The high-profile event is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, the American Lantos Foundation and the Appeal of Conscience Foundation. The conference will examine resurgent anti-Semitism in Europe; its causes and means of combating it.  It will also focus on the more encouraging story of the revival of Jewish life in Europe.

A number of prominent figures of the international political scene, distinguished experts on the topic, academics and representatives of the non-profit sector will participate in the conference. Hungary and the State of Israel will be represented at the opening ceremony, which will include speeches by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán; Israeli Minister of Finance Yair Lapid; Foreign Minister János Martonyi; Annette Lantos, widow of the late Hungarian- American Congressman, Tom Lantos; and Anna-Mária Bíró, Director of the Tom Lantos Institute.

The event will also be attended by Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zsolt Németh, Israeli Ambassador to Hungary Ilan Mor, and Cardinal Péter Erdő, who is also a trustee of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation. Chairman of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Mario Silva will also be present, together with Sir Andrew Burns, United Kingdom Envoy for Post-Holocaust issues.

After the opening ceremony, the conference will continue with panels addressing the gathering’s two main topics. International experts will hold thematic presentations on the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, as well as on other key issues affecting Jewish communities. The panels will examine ways of combating anti-Semitism and discuss topics such as Jewish identity, advocacy, education and culture.

“Clearly this event is one that has significant relevance from a political perspective. However, as an international research, education and human rights organization, the primary objective of the Tom Lantos Institute is to approach these challenging topics in a manner that brings all the tools of social science and honest academic inquiry to these difficult discussions.   We wish to provide a platform where top experts in the field, academics, NGOs and decision-makers can meaningfully discuss the key issues affecting Jewish communities in Europe. We believe this approach can help illuminate and inform the choices that political leaders must make. To that end, following the conference, concrete recommendations will be presented to decision-makers with the involvement of participating international experts,” Dr. Anna-Mária Bíró, Director of the Tom Lantos Institute emphasized. “While the protection of fundamental human rights, is partly, though not exclusively, the task of political leaders, these essential rights must never be politicized. These basic rights speak to our deepest values and principles, and the Tom Lantos Institute believes that the shared defense of human rights should be a unifying force in society” the director added.

The Tom Lantos Institute

The Tom Lantos Institute is an independent human and minority rights organization with a particular focus on Jewish and Roma communities and other transnational minorities. The conference is part of the Institute’s work focusing on Jewish communities. The Institute was named after Tom Lantos, the Hungarian-born American political leader, the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to the United States Congress.  Throughout his political career Congressman Lantos was a global leader in the struggle to advance human rights.  He was the Co-Founder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.