WJC Head: Anti-Semitism in Europe Akin to 1930s

Ronald Lauder warns that seven decades after World War II, Jews in Europe are having to look over their shoulders once more.

Ben Ariel ,

Ronald Lauder
Ronald Lauder
Flash 90

World Jewish Congress (WJC) president Ronald Lauder urged the United States on Tuesday to beware surging anti-Semitism in Europe and warned that seven decades after World War II Jews on the continent are having to look over their shoulders once more.

Lauder told a congressional committee in Washington that the United States could not sit by quietly, with events such as the recent attack in France underlining the growing threat, the AFP news agency reported.

"Once again, like the 1930s, European Jews live in fear," said Lauder, who added,   "The United States can and must speak loudly and clearly to condemn this evil for what it is -- the radical Islamic hatred of Jews."

"To defeat this new flame of radical Islamic terror and survive... the United States must lead," stressed Lauder.

The WJC represents Jewish communities in 100 countries.

Lauder, who was joined by Roger Cukierman, a French Jewish leader, and Dan Asmussen, a Danish Jewish leader, noted that anti-Jewish attacks recently had hit France -- in Paris and Toulouse -- as well as in Copenhagen.

Danish society "itself is not and has never been anti-Semitic and many of the threats facing Danish Jewry -- like in the rest of Europe -- come from marginalized and radicalized Muslims, and these form a small minority of all Muslims in Denmark," Asmussen was quoted by AFP as having said.

Cukierman added, "This is a war against Western modern civilization. And the Jews are seen by these Jihadists as a privileged target.

"We Jews are the sentinels at the forefront of this war. But we are not the only victims. Military forces, policemen and women, journalists were also targeted and killed," he added.

Since the attacks in Paris in January that left 17 dead, France has been on the highest possible alert with thousands of police and troops deployed at sensitive sites, such as media headquarters and synagogues.

Anti-Semitism in France, and throughout Europe, has been on the rise and flared particularly intensely during Operation Protective Edge, with violent protests in Paris. 

In one incident, hundreds of Muslim extremists attacked a major synagogue in Paris, provoking clashes with Jewish youths who rushed to defend the site and worshippers trapped inside.

According to statistics released in late January, the number of anti-Semitic acts doubled in France during 2014, with acts involving physical violence leading the increase.