On 21 November, 2018, Heads of the Austrian Delegation to the IHRA, Hannah Lessing and Michael Baier, represented the IHRA at a High-Level Conference “Europe beyond antisemitism and anti-Zionism – securing Jewish life in Europe”, organized by the Austrian EU Presidency and the European Jewish Congress. With this event, the first of its kind, Austria marked the eightieth anniversary of the so-called Anschluss and emphasized its special historical responsibility for combating antisemitism in Europe.
Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz invited high-level guests including Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, and other representatives of global Jewish leadership as well as the European Commissioners for Justice and Consumers, Věra Jourová, and for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Johannes Hahn, and the Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism of the European Commission Katharina von Schnurbein. The former Advisor to the IHRA, Dina Porat, also participated.
At the conference, many participants mentioned IHRA’s Working Definition on Antisemitism, commended those EU Member States who have endorsed it and called upon the others to do so. Chancellor Kurz also presented an Austrian Presidency proposal for an EU Council Declaration on the fight against antisemitism and the development of a common security approach to better protect Jewish communities and institutions in Europe, which is currently being negotiated in Brussels.