EU presidency patronage promised for EJC Anti-Semitism symposium
(Prague, 4 March 2009) – The European Jewish Congress Executive met with Mirek Topolanek, the Czech Prime Minister, and Alexander Vondra, Czech Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, in Prague today to discuss some of the issues of concern to European Jewry.
On the agenda at the meeting were the matters of European Union representation at the upcoming UN Durban Review Conference (“Durban II”), rising anti-Semitism in Europe, the Iranian nuclear threat and the Holocaust Era Assets Conference which will take place in the Czech Republic during their EU presidency.
The EJC, the representative body for Jewish communities in Europe, thanked the Czech Presidency for firmly stating the EU position during the negotiations for the Durban II conference in Geneva.
Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the EJC, brought to the attention of Minister Vondra the problematic agenda for the upcoming conference that was already beginning to take shape.
“The Draft Outcome Document is already filled with language that crosses the EU “red lines”, especially in regards to Holocaust remembrance, anti-Semitism and freedom of expression,” said Kantor, referring to the red lines that were set by President Sarkozy during the recent French Presidency of the EU.
“We ask that the Czech Presidency take a very strong stance against the conference, taking into account the US decision to disengage, and to try to harness other EU states to disengage from the process. This is a chance to make the voice of the EU heard on racism and fundamental human rights issues.”
The EJC invited Michael Kocab, Czech Minister for Human Rights, to participate in a one- day symposium that the EJC, in partnership with the European Commission and the European Parliament, will host. This event takes place on the 30th of March; the theme of the symposium is building together the future of Europe.
The symposium will deal with anti-Semitism and intercultural dialogue in the EU. The EJC will seek to make concrete proposals on combating anti-Semitism in Europe. Prime Minister Topolanek promised to provide the Czech’s EU presidency as patronage to the symposium.
The EJC thanked the Czech Presidency for their strong position in regards to Iran.
“We consider the Iranian regime to be a danger to global stability,” said Kantor. “There is a window of opportunity for the EU, the US and Russia to act together to impede Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The letter sent from US President Barak Obama to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev is a clear signal that there is good will to deal with the Iranian issue in an effective manner.”
The EJC asked that Minister Vondra stand firmly behind the economic embargo and exert additional pressure to impede Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, as was done by France, Germany and the UK.