Rabbi warns: Politically correct anti-Semitism has many faces

Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt opens CER convention declaring 'European institutions can do more to protect the Jewish Community.'

Yoni Kempinski, Antwerp ,

CER Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt with Israel's Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
CER Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt with Israel's Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
Eli Itkin

Just ten days before Europeans start voting in the European Parliamentary Elections, Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) discussed the dangers of the far-right at the organization’s biennial convention taking place in Antwerp.

Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt said: "Some populist parties offer appeal to the Jewish communities of Europe; either because the Jewish community feels like it does not like the status quo or because Jews feel that the Party would offer them protection from the dangers posed by Islamic extremism."

"However, once you move away from mainstream parties, the alternative is often far-right parties, some of which have a rotten core of politically correct antisemitism which soon comes to the fore.

"Politically correct anti-Semitism has many faces including attacks on religious practice like religious slaughter and religious circumcision or causing more subtle changes fostering an atmosphere of extremism.

"Going into the European elections, we have to encourage our communities to understand the wider context of this European vote. It is not just a chance to protest against mainstream politics or an opportunity to endorse a fringe position, we need an effective European Parliament that is going to protect minority communities. The Jewish community needs to vote in these elections and we have stressed the importance of this message to our rabbis. Right now, European institutions can do more to protect the Jewish community and this vote is a good way of holding decision makers to account."

The opening day of the conference began with addresses by the two Chief Rabbis of Israel, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Dovid Lau, both giving their words of support to Europe’s Jewish communities.

The Convention is looking at many of the issues that are affecting Europe’s Jewish communities including security at synagogues, the role of Jewish leadership and religious freedoms.

Speaking about the importance of the Convention, Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt said: "This is the 31st time we have brought Europe’s Rabbis together to discuss the issues of the day. It is an honor and a privilege to bring together almost 250 of Europe’s Rabbis together from 35 countries."

At a gala dinner, Elan S. Carr, United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism, spoke about how bans on religious slaughter were tantamount to the "forced expulsion" of the Jewish community.