Europe’s Jewish population of roughly 1.4 million people could disappear by the middle of the century, warned Russian-born philanthropist and Jewish activist Moshe Kantor, the founder of the World Holocaust Forum and president of the European Jewish Congress.
In an interview with Galei Tzahal’s Efi Triger which was aired on “Good Morning Israel” Wednesday morning, Kantor said the rise in anti-Semitism around the world – and the political polarization which has fueled that rise – could potentially result in a “global catastrophe”.
“The size of this event corresponds to the level of anti-Semitism today,” Kantor said on the eve of the 5th annual World Holocaust Forum, set to be held in Jerusalem.
“I’m very appreciative of the understanding that we have between President Rivlin, who invited everybody to come here, and the leaders of the world who understood the special moment.”
“Anti-Semitism could be a slippery slope to a global catastrophe. It is a possibility that in 30 years there will be no Jews in Europe. Forty percent are considering to leave Europe entirely. Every year, annually, three percent… are leaving Europe.”
Could the far-right in Europe threaten support for Israel and worsen anti-Semitism on the continent?
“We do see that the rise of anti-Semitism is a specific feature of the polarization of the political spectrum. This is exactly the symptom of the global catastrophe which is coming, that society allows extremism to come into executive power in democratic ways.”
What do you think of Polish President Andrzej Duda’s decision to not to attend the World Holocaust Forum?
“He was supposed to speak at the opening event in the President’s House [in Jerusalem]. Why he refused to do this invitation of [Israeli] President Rivlin, I have no idea and I don’t want to have any political speculation about this. I wish him full success.”
Dozens of world leaders are expected to arrive in Israel this week for the forum, including US Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Britain’s Prince Charles; French President Emmanuel Macron; Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen; Russian President Vladimir Putin; Governor-General of Canada Julie Payette; Governor-General of Australia David Hurley; the King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander; Italian President Sergio Mattarella; King Felipe VI of Spain; King Philippe of Belgium; German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier; the President of Slovenia, Borut Pahor; the President of Slovenia, Borut Pahor; Hungarian President János Áder; Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos; Swedish President Stefan Löfven; the President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zolenskyy; Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades; the President of Lithuania, Gitanas Nausėda; the Crown Prince Haakon of Norway; the Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen; Finnish President Sauli Niinistö; the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa; the President of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev; the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis; Slovakian President Zuzana Čaputová; Czech Premier Andrej Babiš; Albanian President Ilir Meta; Armenian President Armen Sarkissian; the President of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili; the Speaker of the Latvian Parliament, Ināra Mūrniece; the President of Moldova, Igor Dodon; Minister of State of Monaco Serge Telle; the Chairman of the House of Representatives of Belarus; the President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović; the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić; President of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Željko Komšić; the Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, the President of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski,; the President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović; the President of the European Council, Charles Michel; the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli; and Vatican Representative Kurt Koch.