Old City of Porto, Portugal
Old City of Porto, PortugaliStock

European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas, who is in charge of the EU’s fight against antisemitism, told the annual conference of the European Jewish Association this week that 38 percent of European Jews are looking into leaving the continent over feeling unsafe.

The conference, “Shaping the future of European Jewry, together,” which was held in Porto, Portugal, also heard from Schinas, who spoke remotely, that antisemitism is not only on the rise across Europe but is increasingly leaving Jewish institutions in dire security situations, Eureporter reported.

“Antisemitism is on the rise and unfortunately, Jewish institutions across the continent are required to invest more and more in security,” Schinas told the conference.

“The data show that 38 percent of the Jews in Europe are considering leaving Europe because they feel unsafe. This is a shame and it’s the responsibility of every government in the EU to protect its Jewish citizens,” he said.

He noted that 19 EU governments do not have national action plans to tackle mounting antisemitism.

The conference included over 100 Jewish leaders from across the EU.

EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin opened the conference, saying: “How many people here have actually been asked by a government official or politician what a Jewish future should look like, or what should be in any plan? Not nearly enough. We must change this. Right now, as we meet, governments across Europe are coming forward with plans affecting Jewish life in Europe. We must ask ourselves what kind of future we want to see? And what part all of us can do to make that vision a reality?’’

“We are one community undivided by borders, when we speak with one voice, we are stronger together," he added.

President of Jewish Community of Porto Gabriel Senderowicz discussed the difference between Jewish life and Jewish heritage, stressing that many European governments don’t understand the difference.

“They think of Judaism as ancient houses that have been rehabilitated and some municipal museums that open on Shabbat. I am honored to be president of a community that has synagogues that respect traditional Judaism, that has kosher restaurants, films of history, a Jewish museum closed on Shabbat, and a Holocaust Museum that welcomes 50,000 children a year and teaches them that the aim of the Final Solution was to exterminate the Jews and not minorities in general.”

At the conference, a motion was adopted calling for antisemitism to be tackled separately from other forms of hate.

The motion stated: “Antisemitism is unique and must be treated as such.”

“There is little to no solidarity or empathy towards Jewish communities from other groups affected by hate when antisemitic atrocities occur or when Israelis are murdered in terrorist acts,” the motion said.

The motion demanded that EU leaders pass legislation barring openly antisemitic figures from running for office and for EU institutions.