Monument dedicated to the Jews who died at Verdun
Monument dedicated to the Jews who died at VerdunReuters

European Jewish Association Chairman and Founder Rabbi Menachem Margolin's organization has embarked on a wide-ranging consultation of European Jewry in Europe to establish a consensus on European Jews’ “red lines”. “For Jews across Europe the stakes in the forthcoming European elections have rarely been higher," said Rabbi Margolin. "We need to put down a clear marker of what we, who have formed part of Europe’s cultural fabric for almost two thousand years, and who have suffered first hand from Europe’s worst excesses too, expect from those in power at this critical time,” he said.

The draft red lines - that include excluding from government parties that espouse anti-Semitism as set out in the IHRA definition, and that call on all political parties to pass binding resolutions rejecting BDS as fundamentally anti-Semitic - will be debated and voted on at the EJA’s flagship annual conference on 6-7 November at the European Parliament and in Conference facilities in Brussels, Belgium. Once approved, an official resolution encompassing the views of Jewry across the Continent will be forwarded to all political leaders and parties running in the European elections, and are expected to be signed up to and included in party literature and manifestos.

The draft red lines are:

  • Political parties and their leadership must sign up to the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism;
  • Every European Country must appoint a special government envoy on anti-Semitism where one already doesn’t exist;
  • All political parties pledge to exclude from government parties or politicians that espouse anti-Semitism as defined by the IHRA definition;
  • All political parties must pass a binding resolution rejecting BDS activities as fundamentally anti-Semitic; and
  • All political parties must support in writing and in party documents their support for freedom of religion and freedom of practice at Member State level and EU level where applicable.

Speaking as he launched the consultation, Rabbi Margolin said, “With the stock of ‘big tent’ political parties at an all-time low, and the rise in support for fringe parties of Right and Left, we're looking at a dramatically different political landscape post-election in which we all have to operate and live. It'll be one where the language of division and populist rhetoric will be in the ascendancy as never before. The stakes for Jews, already living in a febrile enough environment, are higher than I can ever remember.

“This polarization and its potential dangers affect all of us, whether you're affiliated with the EJA or not, and should supersede any inter or intra-organizational tensions or differences. It's in this spirit that we're reaching out to Jews of all backgrounds and persuasions for their opinions. These ‘red lines’ when passed will represent not our line in the sand, but our line in the concrete, and serve as a wake-up call to politicians that the very future of Jewish Europe is on the line here.

“That is the stark and uncompromising message that we are taking to conference and sharing with EU Leaders, diplomats, and Ambassadors from the the EU 28 and beyond,” concluded Rabbi Margolin.

Jew walks past Windsor Castle during rehearsals for wedding of Prince Harry
Jew walks past Windsor Castle during rehearsals for wedding of Prince HarryReuters