EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor meets EU foreign affairs chief Frederica Mogherini
EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor meets EU foreign affairs chief Frederica MogheriniMarc Dossmann (Courtesy of EJC)

European Jewish leaders have called on the European Union to appoint a special task force with its own special envoy to combat rising anti-Semitism in Europe.

The request was made Wednesday during a meeting between the EU's foreign affairs chief and European Commission president Frederica Mogherini, and a delegation from the European Jewish Congress (EJC), headed by president Dr. Moshe Kantor, 

"Now more than ever, the European Union needs to create a position and organization specifically geared towards finding long-lasting solutions for anti-Semitism and other forms of racism," Dr. Kantor told Mogherini during the meeting. "The recent events demonstrate that the sense of security among Jews in parts of Europe is at its lowest point since the end of the Holocaust and many are leaving their homes as a result."

"It is incumbent on the European Union to urgently place combating anti-Semitism as one of its highest priorities because this is a hatred that transcends borders and cannot be dealt with by any single nation on its own," he added.

Following last week's deadly Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris - which saw four Jewish shoppers murdered at a kosher supermarket on Friday - Cantor warned that European governments are not doing enough to protect their Jewish communities from attack by Muslim extremists.

His concern has been echoed by other European Jewish leaders, including prominent rabbinic figure Rabbi Menachem Margolin who, in a dramatic letter to the governments of all EU-member states, urged them to issue special gun permits for Jews.

"Friday's attack on the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris piled pain upon pain for the people of France and Europe as a whole," High Representative Mogherini following Wednesday's meeting with EJC representatives. "I discussed with Dr Kantor how to tackle concretely the challenge of anti-Semitism in Europe."

Hinting at great cooperation between European countries in tackling the threat, Mogherini added: "The EU is built on a belief that we can combat cross-border phenomena – from combating the rise of anti-Semitic incitement on the internet, to tackling extremist ideology abroad, one of the priorities in developing a comprehensive strategy to combat emerging threats in the Middle East."

"The spirit of unity we have seen in France, across Europe and the world since last Wednesday must instill a unity of purpose in all of us in combating these threats.”

Among other things urged by Kantor following Friday's attack has been more security and intelligence cooperation between EU member-states. His meeting with Mogherini came on the same day as reports that ISIS terrorist Amedy Coulibaly, who carried out the attack on the Hyper Cacher supermarket one day after murdering a policewoman in a separate attack, purchased all the weaponry used in last week's attacks by him and the Kouachi brothers across the border in Belgium.

Kantor emphasized that Coulibali's attack was just the latest one on Jews and Jewish targets in Europe - and particularly France - which have left dozens of dead or wounded in recent years.

"We warned after the Toulouse school massacre and again after the Brussels Jewish museum massacre that Jews are facing even greater threats," Dr. Kantor continued, pointing to the growing incitement to hatred that is fueling the violence. "The targeting of Jews across Europe is ongoing, persistent and growing more and more deadly, and is being justified by a growing number of people on the continent, whether it is in certain communities, public figures or the media."

"This challenge needs special attention and to be dealt with in a holistic manner. The same groups who target Jews are a threat to our general society and all of Europe and we must find a strong and robust answer to prevent the next massacre before it is too late."