Interviewed by Belgian Flemish public radio VRT on Thursday, Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade, was asked about the chances for peace in the Middle East now that direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians restarted in Washington yesterday.
De Gucht answered with a tirade about the power of the ‘Jewish Lobby’ in the U.S. and appeared to indicate that Jews are irrational when it comes to the Israel and the Middle East conflict.
EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor was incensed by De Gucht’s anti-Semitic remarks. “What sort of environment allows such remarks to be made openly by a senior politician?” Kantor said. “This is part of a dangerous trend of incitement against Jews and Israel in Europe that needs to be stamped out immediately.”
“Once again we hear outrageous anti-Semitism from a senior European official,” Kantor said. “The libel of Jewish power is apparently acceptable at the highest levels of the European Union. This should worry everyone who seeks a more tolerant Europe.”
De Gucht, one of the most senior officials in the European Union, is a former Belgian Foreign Minister. These latest remarks are especially troubling as statistics on anti-Semitic attacks in Europe have reached new heights.
Kantor said that these remarks are part of a new wave of new anti-Semitism growing in Europe which holds distorted views on Israel as the Jewish State. “It has somehow become acceptable to attack Jews through Israel, even at the highest levels” Kantor continued. “The old anti-Semitic libels of the all-powerful Jewish cabals, the recalcitrant Jew and the irrational Jews only caring for their own, are remade to fit 21st century hostility to the Jewish State.”
The EJC is calling for an immediate retraction and apology from De Gucht. “It is of great concern that a high-level politician in Europe holding such problematic and intolerant views,” Kantor said. “This is even more galling as Mr. De Gucht thought that these remarks were acceptable for public consumption.