Daily Israel Report

Jewish Groups: Adapt 'Emergency Measures' for European Jewry

Jewish groups urge European governments to adopt "emergency measures" to protect European Jewry from increasing threats of anti-Semitism.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 5/17/2012, 2:34 PM

EJC President & Czech Prime Minister
EJC President & Czech Prime Minister
Ondřej Besperát

Jewish organizations are urging European governments to quickly adopt measures to tackle anti-Semitism and far-right extremism, including possibly banning the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party that did unusually well in recent elections, the Associated Press reported.

Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, met with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas on Wednesday, urging him to support "emergency measures" to protect Europeans Jewish communities from violent hate crimes.

Kantor refrained from giving details of the measures that would be implemented, but said that they could involve passing legislation, sharing intelligence, and a public awareness campaign about anti-Semitic threats.

Kantor stressed his concern regarding the fascist Greek Golden Dawn party, whose leader  recently denied that Nazi concentration camps used gas chambers to eliminate European Jewry during the Holocaust.  

Kantor said Golden Dawn's "political rise should have sent shock-waves through Europe."

"Before calling on European leaders to act against hate on the street, they must clear their own house and that means banning and ostracizing any politicians and political parties that preach hate and violence," he said. "While we highly value freedom of speech, we all recognize that there must be restrictions, and the visceral hatred propagated by the Golden Dawn is surely outside the boundaries of appropriate political discourse."

Kantor plans to meet with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton as well as Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The congress also consulted with Francois Hollande a few weeks before he was elected president of France.

"We have to be proactive. Otherwise we're in a shameful position because we see the problem and we do not do anything," Kantor told The Associated Press. "That's why we're here."

The Czech Republic is one of Israel's strongest allies in the European Union and pushed for closer ties between the EU and Israel when it held the 27-nation bloc's rotating presidency last year.

Kantor said the current economic crisis creates ripe conditions for anti-Semitism and that radical Muslim communities in Europe are ready to attack Jews, using them as a scapegoat for the hostile situation in the Middle East.