A European Jewish Congress (EJC) delegation met Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to discuss areas of concern to the Jewish community.
Issues raised during the discussion included the rise of anti-Semitism around the world and the threat of global terror, which is frequently aimed at Jewish targets.
“While Jews were once again a prominent target for global terror during 2015, the attacks in Paris, the US, and the mass murder of Russians on an airline in the Sinai show that the terrorists target us all,” EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor said during the meeting.
“Many, at the beginning of past year, felt if you were not a Jew or a cartoonist who drew pictures of Mohammed then you would not be harmed. However, this was proven wrong many times as the year progressed. As usual, what starts with the Jews never ends there.”
“Today, it is vital that all pragmatic nations of the world are united in defeating global terror, which is being led by the so-called Islamic State,” Dr. Kantor continued, urging Russia to take part.
“A united and coordinated fight against terror is the only way to defeat it and we must put aside all other differences because last year showed that this is the greatest current threat to our societies.”
Dr. Kantor also informed Putin of the rising threat to Jewish communities across Europe, noting that “Statistically, the situation of the Jews in Europe is the worst it has been since the end of the Second World War and there is a very real prospect of an exodus of Jews from certain parts of Europe.”
“It is not only the terror attacks against our communities, like in Toulouse, Brussels, Paris and Copenhagen,” Dr. Kantor explained, “but a daily feeling of fear to walk in the streets as Jews, or the necessity to live behind thick security doors, cameras and high fences.”
“Nevertheless, we are glad to report that statistically anti-Semitism in Russia has decreased and we hope that it will continue to decrease and commend the Russian authorities in the fight against those who target Jews.”
The delegation expressed appreciation for the Russian government’s good relations with the Jewish community and Israel, and noted Russia’s role in the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.