The European Jewish Parliament president has defended his decision to meet far-right French politician Marine Le Pen this week.
Ukraine-born oligarch and EJP president Vadim Rabinovich came under fire from Jewish leaders when he met Ms Le Pen as part of a roundtable discussion held at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.
He met the leader of the French National Front along with 10 representatives of the Europe of Nations and Freedom bloc of nationalist parties which she chairs.
In a statement Mr Rabinovich said: “The meeting with the fraction ‘The EU of Nations and freedom’ opens the new dialogue, which, in our firm conviction is what Europe needs today – a dialogue of everybody with everyone, in order to preserve peace and tolerance and combat antisemitism in Europe.
“Dialogue both with the right and with the left and the centrists of Europe will certainly help ensure that Jewish life here will become more secure and the fight against antisemitism will be carried out even more tightly, firmly and resolutely.
“Without a dialogue – there is always a wall of partition.”
European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor said the meeting was “shocking in the extreme”.
“It goes without saying that these people are as unrepresentative of the vast majority of European Jews as this collective of Le Pen’s MEPs is of the vast majority of European citizens,” he said.
French-born rabbi Levi Matusof resigned his membership of the EJP’s 120-member board shortly after the meeting, which he said was “opportunistic and inappropriate”.