European Jewry is in its worst condition since the end of World War II. This bleak evaluation was delivered by European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor on Tuesday.
"Jews are afraid to walk the streets in Europe with Jewish symbols", Kantor said. "Synagogues, Jewish schools and kindergartens require barbed-wire fences and security, and Jewish men, women and children are beaten up in broad daylight."
EJP (European Jewish Press) reports that Kantor was speaking at a lunch meeting in Brussels, organized in honor of Belgium’s ascendance to the presidency of the European Union. The participants were members of the European Parliament from Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands (Holland) and Luxembourg), as well as representatives of the Jewish communities of those countries.
Malmo, For Example
"Most worryingly," he added, "Jews are being forced out of many European cities, like Malmo, because of the atmosphere of hostility and violence." Malmo, on the southern tip of Sweden, is the country's third largest city, with 290,000 people. It has the highest proportion of non-Scandinavian natives of any Swedish city; the largest group of immigrants is from Iraq.
Earlier this year, the Sunday Telegraph reported that increasing numbers of Jews were leaving Malmo for Israel and England because of a jump in anti-Semitic violence by both Muslim extremists and neo-Nazis.
Where are European Leaders?
Kantor asked for support from European leaders: "I would like European politicians to state loud and clear," he said, "that there is no justification or understanding whatsoever for the attacks on Jews or Jewish institutions in Europe."
He rejected the claim uttered by Malmo Mayor Ilmar Reepalu, and many others, that the attacks on Jews are simply a byproduct of the Middle East violence, especially Israel's counter-terror attack on Gaza 18 months ago. "This line of reasoning is illegitimate as well as dishonest," Kantor said. "There are tens of conflicts raging in the world, where hundreds of thousands of people are losing their lives. Has anyone heard of a single other act of violence in Europe that is justified because of a foreign conflict?"
Three months ago, at a conference organized by the European Jewish Congress, under the patronage of the president of the European Parliament, Kantor said that in January 2009, there were more anti-Semitic incidents in France, Germany and Britain than in all of 2008. "Europe did not demonstrate any significant reaction to this," he said.
In addition to legislating stronger laws against incitement, Kantor said that Europe should also make better efforts to pressure Hamas to release captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Shalit, who will be 24 in August, has received no neutral visitors and been held captive by Hamas-affiliated terrorists for just over four years.