«No Jew should be forced to leave Europe,» said Antonio Tajani, the newly elected President of the European Parliament, in a speech at the annual ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the parliament.
Tajani stressed that «unfortunately, anti-Semitism is not an issue of the past. Acts of violence against the Jewish communities in Europe are increasing. Jews are attacked only because they wear a kippa. In Germany, anti-Semitric incidents have doubled. Jews oin France left for Israel because of the persistent climat of hatred towards Jews,» he added.
«We are here to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust, the worst tragedy in European history. It is not only an act of commemoration. It is a crucial process if we want to avoid repeating the same errors,» Tajani said.
«It is important to remain vigilant and not be afraid.» Tajani went on to say that «this act of remembrance takes place in a time when Europe is questioning itself , its future and its values. A time when Europe is facing many challenges, from unemployemnt to the refugee crisis, from immigration to terrorism,» «In this context remembering the terrible mistakes from the past gives us the possibility to remind ourselves that Europe has always been able to draw lessons from the history, for a future based on freedom, democracy and respect for human dignity.»
Tajani said the European Parliament will be firm in the fight against anti-Semitism and end up his speech with the words: ”We pledge: Never this again.”
Wednesday’s ceremony was organised by the European Jewish Congress (EJC) whose President Moshe Kantor warned that «Europe is danger.» “We must not ask for whom the bell rings – the bell rings for all Europeans,” he said. «Jews are a target both for the far right and far-left as well as of extremist islamists.» «Today, young generation have doubts about their future in Europe,» Kantor said. He continued: «We count on Europe to continue showing its loyalty to us, loyalty to the idea that Jews have a future here in Europe, not behind high walls, bullet proof glass and barbed wire.»
“As responsible Europeans we feel we must join our forces to defend our common European values against extremism, violence and terrorism.”Also speaking at the event was former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as Chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR).»
Millions died because of acts of hatred but also because of indifference,» Blair, who wore the kippa, said. «We can never be complacent towards anti-Semitism,» he said, mentioning the latest attacks against Jews in Britain. «Vigilance is a necessity and any sense of security is false,» Blair said.»Europeans must commit that they will never be bystanders.
To fail to act is itself an action and that action has consequences and the consequence is what we saw as we watched the faces of those who died,” he said in reference to pictures of Holocaust victims screened during the ceremony.”We come here today understanding the past by looking backward but with some hope in our hearts that the future can be without hatred, so each time we remember what hatred has done we rekindle the hope of what love can achieve,” Blair said. The ceremony was concluded with the recitation of the Kaddish, the Jewish mourning prayer, by Rabbi Albert Guigui of the Brussels Synagogue.