Conference of European Rabbis: Don't join far-right parties

The president of the Conference of European Rabbis calls on European Jews to reject far right nationalism.

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Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis
Eli Itkin

The head of the primary rabbinical alliance in Europe, The Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Rsbbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, has called on Jewish communities to reject the growing influx of the far right.

Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt’s statement was made after a number of Jewish community figures have been associated with far-right parties. The call came during The CER’s biennial convention in Amsterdam, a gathering which brings together close to 300 delegates, predominantly chief rabbis and rabbis from across Europe.

During his closing remarks at the 60th Anniversary convention, held in Amsterdam, Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis, said: “As we have seen in recent times, a growing number of individuals within the Jewish community have been attracted by the appeal of far-right nationalism. This, however, comes with many downfalls and in turn, leads to struggles to protect our religious rites, such as circumcision and religious slaughter for food. It seems absurd that Jews would vote for parties that have direct links to the Nazis. When a senator in a racist party is being elected to the second most important position in the Jewish community it compromises the whole community."

Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt also urged President Trump to appoint an envoy on antisemitism as a matter of urgency: “We have seen antisemitism increase across America and yet there is still not an envoy. In Europe we know how important it is to have the support from senior officials in the fight against antisemitism. At this conference we have once again seen and heard their support and it does make a real difference. Particular with issues like hate speech on the internet. I feel an US envoy would have a huge impact on American Jewry.”

Finally, Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt turned his attention to shechita, calling on European leaders and Jewish communities to make their feelings clear: “We cannot tolerate bans on religious practice. Leaders across Europe must protest against the proposed ban on shechita in Poland and work to protect our religious freedoms.”

The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) unites more than 700 religious leaders of the mainstream synagogue communities in Europe. The conference is designed to maintain and defend the religious rights of Jews in Europe and has become the voice of Judaism for the European continent.