European concern: Refugees coming, Jews leaving

EU Commission VP is 'alarmed' by Jewish exodus from Europe, as the organization drives to fight growing anti-Semitism.

Hillel Fendel ,

European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans
European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans

The fact that "many Jews are leaving Europe is most alarming,’’ writes European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans in a letter to Rabbi Menachem Margolin, General Director of the European Jewish Association (EJA).

"I am convinced that a Europe where Jewish people and other minorities do not feel home will no longer be the Europe which the founding fathers of the European Union envisaged after the war," Timmermans added, stressing, "I feel very strongly about the situation of Jewish people in Europe today." So reports European Jewish Press.

The letter was written in connection with a recent decision by the EU Commission to nominate a Commission coordinator on anti-Semitism. Timmermans explained to Rabbi Margolin that the new coordinator "will promote and implement policy responses [to anti-Semitism] at European [Union] level, as part of the overall EU strategy to combat racism and xenophobia."

The repeated usage of the word 'xenophobia' in the letter is ironic, in that it makes it difficult to identify the main source of today's European anti-Semitism – i.e., another minority group in Europe: the rapidly-growing Muslim community.

For instance, British author Martin Amis was strongly taken to task for remarks he made about security measures that should be taken against the populace that produces more terrorists and violence than others: "There is a definite urge - don't you have it? - to say, 'The Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order. Not letting them travel. Deportation, further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they're from the Middle East or from Pakistan. Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children.'"

Amis was attacked for advocating such measures, and was forced to say that he had not "promoted" this view, but merely "expressed an urge to do so."

Thus, the EU Commission's resolution to combat "racism and xenophobia" might seem to stand in contrast to its bid to fight anti-Semitism, as it is a particular minority group that it mostly responsible for the anti-Semitism.

As is well-known, France has become the top country of origin for immigrating Jews. Close to 15,000 Jews moved from France to Israel in the last two years. Only some 7,000 moved from North America over the same period.

Immigration to Israel rose 13% to a total of 29,500 in the Jewish year 5775, compared with the year before. Immigration from Great Britain rose at the same rate: 690 this past year, compared with 612 the year before. Approximately 400 arrived from Italy, compared with 300 the year before.