'There is no Europe without Jews'

Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the European Commission, denounces anti-Semitism.

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Yoni Kempinski, Amsterdam,

Frans Timmermans
Frans Timmermans
Yoni Kempinski

Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the European Commission, said on Tuesday that “there is no Europe without the Jewish Community”.

Timmermans spoke at the Conference of European Rabbi’s 60th Anniversary Gala Dinner, held in Amsterdam. The Gala Dinner was chaired by the Chief Rabbi of Amsterdam, Rabbi Eliezer Wolff.

“Europe is faced with a huge surge of anti-Semitism, which is inspired by people coming from elsewhere, who were raised with anti-Semitism. Our society should be helping them to get it out of their system and signs of anti-Semitism should not remain unaddressed. But sadly, we also face the eternal European anti-Semitism, which is live and kicking,” said Timmermans in his remarks.

“Freedom of religion is essential and we will defend the principle that one should not be questioned how they practice religion. There is no Europe without the Jewish community,” he added.

In a video message played to the delegated of the Conference, President Tajani, President of the European Union said, “Europe will not be Europe without Jews. Any attack against Jewish communities in Europe is an attack against Europe. We have to act together reaffirming the values at the center of the European integration. Religions are part of the solution for peace and tolerance.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wrote a letter to the Conference, in which he said, “Regrettably, anti-Semitism has not disappeared from our world. In recent years, we have been witness to a resurgence in anti-Semitic attacks and many Jews are once again afraid to openly practice their religion and identify themselves as Jews. I appreciate your actions to combat this scourge and refuse the libelous smear campaign against Israel.”

Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis, said, “This is a new very scary environment in which negative forces are taking advantage of globalization and abusing the internet to spread their hate. We rabbis have to provide to our community and to the world a tent, a spiritual tent, which will provide clarity, charity and love, sanctity and tolerance, where the respect to every human being who has been created in the image of G-d is demonstrated. I thank Frans Timmermans and President Tanjani for their kind words of support for European Jewry.”

The gathering that brings together close to 300 delegates, predominantly Chief Rabbis and Rabbis from across Europe, is celebrating its 60th anniversary. It started on Monday and runs through Wednesday.