Tuesday

20th Aug 2019

Jews call on EU to halt anti-Semitism

  • We must use all the instruments available, said Commission President Romano Prodi (Photo: European Commission)

Jewish leaders have called on the European Union to act to halt the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.

"We bring a message today - and that message is a warning to Europe... anti-Semitism and prejudice have returned. The monster is here with us once again" Cobi Benatoff, the president of the European Jewish Congress warned.

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Religious leaders and politicians met for a one-day seminar in Brussels to address the apparent rise in anti-Jewish sentiment across Europe.

During the conference, the EU was repeatedly asked to act to stem the tide of hatred as Rabbi’s and other leaders offered their testimony of mistreatment.

"It is not just Jews crying wolf", said Mr Benatoff.

Last year attacks on synagogues and Jewish schools in France catapulted the issue back into the media spotlight.

Later a Commission poll revealed that European citizens thought Israel the biggest threat to world peace, prompting Commission President Romano Prodi to co-organise the conference.

At the conference, Mr Prodi answered the calls for action.

Suggestions ranged from setting up a permanent body to discuss inter-faith issues, to the EU backing a UN security council resolution condemning anti-Semitism.

"[We the EU] want this Seminar to produce results and have an impact. We are not here to beat our breasts in public and then do nothing. So I have some practical proposals to make on follow-up", said Mr Prodi.

"We must use all the instruments available to deal with anti-Semitism of this sort, ranging from police and judicial action to education and social measures,"

Commission official, Ricardo Levi, said that an EU working group would be set up to discuss possible policy.

"This is not 1942" said the UK’s chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, before adding "but seeds are being planted which will one day bear fruit of poison".

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