Against the backdrop of neo-Nazi marches in Europe and the dangerous rise in the level and scope of attacks against Jews across Europe, the European Jewish Congress (EJC) is calling upon European leaders to speak out unequivocally and to take real action to prevent further escalation of violent anti-Semitic attacks.
Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the EJC, the representative body of European Jewry, acting president of the Russian Jewish Congress and head of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation, noted, “It is unconscionable that thousands of Neo-Nazis are again marching in Europe. It must not be seen as normal or acceptable for racism and anti-Semitism to be commonplace, and yet, that seems to be the case.” Kantor continued, “Has the world again gone mad? European leaders cannot continue to be silent in the face of this blatant aggression against people simply because they are Jews.”
At the same time, the EJC commends the British Foreign Office for hosting this week’s London conference on Anti-Semitism, to be held today and tomorrow (16-17 February) which includes parliamentary representatives from 40 European countries, while urging meaningful action.
EJC President, Dr. Moshe Kantor noted, “The London Conference is an important step in acknowledging the growing number and level of vitriol and violence against European Jews. But words without meaningful action are not enough. We hope and expect that European parliamentarians will make a real commitment to decisive and immediate action against anti-Semitism in all its guises.”
“We see the handwriting on the wall. It begins with threatening language, continues with calls for boycotts against Jewish-owned businesses and disintegrates into violent attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions.” He continued, “Where will it end? European governments must denounce and prevent further escalation of anti-Semitic slurs and attacks on the streets of Europe, and perpetrators must be brought to justice. The Jewish community is witnessing a hatred and vitriol not seen in Europe since the Holocaust.”
In the last several weeks alone, several western European countries, including France, Belgium and the UK, have witnessed an alarming number of anti-Semitic incidents. The Community Security Trust, a respected organization based in the UK that monitors instances of anti-Semitism, has reported as many attacks in just the first weeks of 2009 as in the entire first six months of last year.These incidents include extreme physical violence, vandalism and sinister threats made against Jewish organisations and individuals.
The signs of the pervasiveness of anti-Semitism in Europe range from the grass-roots to elected government leaders. Neo-Nazis are marching openly in Europe in growing numbers, from Dresden, Germany to Budapest, Hungary.
The European Jewish Congress calls upon European leaders to show moral clarity and leadership to all Europeans by ensuring that these actions and attacks are condemned in the strongest possible terms and that appropriate measures are urgently taken to prevent a further escalation of violence.