Elon Musk
Elon MuskYoav Dudkevitch

The European Jewish Association, representing hundreds of communities across the continent, held a Symposium in Krakow where senior political figures from 25 European countries, and X (formerly Twitter) Chairman Elon Musk met to discuss and find solutions to the astronomical rises in antisemitism affecting Europe since October 7th Hamas murderous terror attacks, before taking part in a visit and remembrance service to Auschwitz on Tuesday.

“With rates of antisemitism in Europe at levels unseen since WW2, doing nothing is not an option,” said EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, “never again is really now, and it is why today we inaugurated the European Leader’s Forum for Combatting Antisemitism, headed up by The 10th President of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, and including former prominent European Heads of States: Sebastian Kurz, Manuel Valls, Matteo Renzi, Petar Stoyanov, Andrej Babiš, Prokopios Pavlopoulos, Borut Pahor, Milo Đukanović, and Stefan Lofven, to focus minds at the very top of every European government, to tighten legislation against hate speech, and to work with universities – hotbeds of hate against Jews and Israel, as well as football clubs and sporting institutions.

Rabbi Margolin outlined the priorities: Creating or tightening existing legislation covering hate speech using the IHRA definition as a benchmark, working with deans and rectors at universities to stop the rabid antisemitism and antizionism on campuses, and lastly engaging with top-flight football clubs and other sporting institutions to work towards antisemitism free spaces at their fixtures.

Earlier in the day, Rabbi Margolin escorted Elon Musk, who was accompanied by Daily Wire owner Ben Shapiro, on a tour of Auschwitz, before Mr Musk and Shapiro had a dialogue on stage

In an on-stage conversation with Rabbi Margolin, the X Chairman remarked about the visit: "I’m still absorbing the magnitude of the tragedy that I witnessed at Auschwitz. I think it’ll take a few days to set in."

Regarding antisemitism, he stated: "In the circles that I move I see almost no antisemitism. Two-thirds of my friends are Jewish. I went to a Hebrew preschool in South Africa. I went to Israel when I was thirteen. Visited Masada. I’ve checked the boxes on a lot of things. Sometimes I think, ‘Am I Jewish?’ I’m Jewish by association, aspirationally Jewish. I never hear about it at dinner conversations; it’s an absurdity in my friend circles. But looking at the pro-Hamas rallies that have taken place at almost every city in the West, it’s blown my mind. Including at elite college campuses. You’re supposed to be enlightened on those campuses, not fostering hate. I went to UPenn and thought, this is unbelievable."

He added: "We need to stop with this idea that the weaker party is always correct. Just because you’re oppressed doesn’t mean you’re good. We have to get rid of the rule that if you’re weaker you’re automatically good. It makes no sense. It often makes sense, but if that weaker group wants to kill you - then they’re bad. I think we need to return to a focus on merit. It shouldn’t matter what race you are, what gender, or what beliefs you have. It should matter how good you are at your job. What matters is, how good is your work. That’s it. Diversity, equity, and inclusion all sound like nice words but what it really means is discrimination on the basis of race, sex, etc., rather than merit, and is therefore fundamentally antisemitic."

The 10th President of the State of Israel and the founder of the Leaders' Forum on behalf of EJA, Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin stated: "The ongoing campaign against anti-Semitism and racism is not a matter for Jews alone, but first and foremost for the entire free world. The lessons of the Holocaust teach that the decay of any society begins with expressions of hatred towards Jews that quickly spread from there to the other communities in society until its complete destruction. The heavy price of anti-Semitism is paid by the general society In Europe, which advocates the values of tolerance and human dignity.

"During this period, while Israel is fighting Hamas after the terrible massacre it carried out on 7/10, Europe is flooded with a huge number of manifestations of anti-Semitism and racism - on campuses, in the media, in the streets, and in politics. This is a test hour. European leaders, past and present, require historical evidence and a determined response.

Israeli Minister for Diaspora Affairs and Combatting Antisemitism Amichai Chikli dedicated his speech to Holocaust historian Alex Danzig from kibbutz Nir Oz who was kidnapped on October 7 and still captive in Gaza with more than 130 people and emphasized: "Some believed that antisemitism would vanish after the Holocaust but after à short respite it is still here. We are witnessing à moral collapse, for example in US universities like Harvard. The Jewish people have not encountered such an obsessive hatred since the thirties, especially against the sole Jewish state, Israel. I can assure you that we will never give up! “Am Israel Chai” is not only a slogan but our life mission.”

Former Prime Minister of France Manuel Valls stated: “Hamas are not freedom fighters but want annihilation of Jews. We must fight them. We must deconstruct the words, with South Africa speaking of genocide, apartheid... Behind this, We find Iran and Turkey. For à man from the left, it's à challenge. We have to be with Israel the sole democratic country in the region It is not only a problem for Jews but for all people with Western values. We are all Jews.”

Sebastian Kurz, former Chancellor of Austria stated: “The security of Israel is for Austria is a doctrine. It is important that we all combat antisemitism and fight for the security of Israel and peace.”

Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi stated: “After the October 7 massacre we have to continue the battle for civilization. The real enemy of Palestinians is Hamas. With Hamas, we cannot achieve the desire for peace.”

Stefan Löfven, former Prime Minister of Sweden and President of the Party of European Socialists (PES): “Remembrance is a key issue. In surveys, Antisemitism is relatively small, but we have people coming here from the Middle East who have brought the hate with them. We need to address this…but also be able to criticize Israel when it is justified.”

The Symposium was addressed by Dani Dayan, Yad Vashem Chairman, who challenged world leaders, stating: “When world leaders come to Yad Vashem and utter the words, "Never Again,” I find myself questioning their sincerity. Do they really mean "Never Again"? I have a litmus test to gauge this. If a leader's government or institution has an implementable action plan to combat antisemitism, an implemented plan, then their proclamation of "Never Again" expresses deep commitment. This is our shared ethical responsibility; this is your ethical responsibility to the victims of the Holocaust and to Jews worldwide, to yourselves and to your societies”.

Throughout the day, members of the European Leaders Forum, senior politicians from across the continent, and representatives from the United Nations and European Council, who all took part in panels on effective political and legislative solutions in fighting antisemitism.

Miguel Ángel Moratinos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General, High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) stated: "Our task today is to find ways to eradicate Antisemitism. People sometimes don’t know what the UN is doing in fighting Antisemitism. I can assure you that the UN is trying to find a more efficient method to fight Antisemitism… Antisemitism is a global concern It is a global threat.”

Seán Ó Fearghaíl, President of Parliament, House of Representatives of Ireland: “Today I admit that Jews in Ireland are concerned about anti-Israel demos. We support a two-state solution. We have empathy with the underdog but this doesn't mean we support calls for the destruction of Israel. We consider Hamas a terrorist organization that needs to be put to an end.”

Before these panels, the symposium heard from Jewish Community Presidents Leaders, and University students on what life has been like since October 7th.

Joel Mergui, Chair of EJA Jewish Leader's Board and President of Consistoire of Paris: “I couldn't imagine that 79 years after the Holocaust we had to live through what happened on October 7 and the first anniversary of Kfir Bibas in captivity. Today we experience antisemitism, antizionism, and the rise of radical Islam. We need to be vigilant in facing radical Islam worldwide. Today the question is how to convince the Muslim world living in our countries to condemn terror. Inciting to hatred must stop”.

Estrella Bengio, President of the Jewish Community of Madrid: “We have always needed special protection in the synagogues, and we have had to normalize that. October 7th just worsened everything. Since October 7 Jewish students have felt very bad. We say never again but we see it is happening again!”

Rabbi Avi Lazarus, CEO of Federation of Synagogues, United Kingdom: “Conversations such as how much longer do we have in the UK are conversations we never imagined we would have, - and are now commonplace. there are now no-go areas in London, such as in East London where there are Palestinian flags on every lamppost. If anyone tries to take them down, they will be attacked.

Noa Levy, Student at Queen Mary University of London: “The situation in the UK is very complicated. My university did not withdraw an invitation for a pro-Palestinian speaker who denied the October 7th atrocities. I cannot walk freely on my campus, I cannot show my Star of David, and the university is not doing enough to ensure my safety. The leadership in the UK needs to enforce the IHRA definition de facto. The definition has been approved since 2020 at my university, but it is not enforced.”

Bianka Sieredzinska, a Student at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands: “The situation for Jewish students is terrible! it is scary to walk in the street. just recently stones were thrown at students at a Kristallnacht memorial. The police took 40 minutes to arrive, demonstrating their lack of seriousness and care for Anti-Semitism.“

At a Gala Dinner in the evening - where a table for the hostages still held in captivity by Hamas was laid - the Parents of Aner Shapira will be honored. Aner saved lives by throwing back 7 grenades at the terrorists before an 8th blew up in his hands at the Supernova Concert.

The head of the Catalonia Police Department is this year’s recipient of the EJA’s King David Award for his efforts in safeguarding Jewish Communities in the Spanish Region, and holocaust survivor Gidon Lev gave a moving and inspiring speech to dinner guests.