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Meeting in Rome, European Jewish leaders lament lack of action from governments against antisemitism

“The test of any government commitments in standing up for European Jewry is right now. Our council is clear, based on the evidence so far, European governments are failing this test,’’ said European Jewish Association Chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin.

‘’It is unacceptable that calls for genocide and ethnic cleansing as typified by “From the River to the Sea”, and calls for “intifada” are now commonplace in Europe, along with Nazi symbols and outright antisemitic imagery in regular use, declared Joel Mergui, President of the European Jewish Association Council of European Jewish Leaders and of the Paris Consistoire, in closing remarks to the Council conference in Rome.

‘’This is a major cause of antisemitism and authorities across the continent must do more to stick to their commitments that they have repeatedly given to protect Jews and fight antisemitism,’’ he added.

The conference, which discussed the challenges faced by European Jewish communities, saw the 40 leaders from across Europe to lament the fact that despite commitments to safeguard Jewish communities and promises to root out antisemitism, too many governments across Europe have done neither.


“As Jewish leaders, it is our duty to protect our communities. The message from community leaders on the Council is clear: the EU and governments must translate their nice words on ensuring the safety of Jewish communities into meaningful actions,’’ said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association.

“The test of any government commitments in standing up for European Jewry is right now. Our council is clear, based on the evidence so far, European governments are failing this test,’’ he stressed.

Jewish community leaders said that there is a political and policing failure to act upon anti-hate and anti-BDS legislation already in place, and despite many countries signing up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, barely any are adhering to its principles.

“The laws and definition are not worth the paper they are printed on right now”, said one Dutch Jewish community leader, citing the number of protests advocating genocide and ethnic cleaning of Jews in Israel, and often worldwide by using Nazi tropes and iconography.

The Jewish leaders agreed upon an 18 point plan of action for 2024, including increasing Community safety, securing a ban on the sale of Nazi memorabilia and engaging major sports clubs and institutions in fighting antisemitism.

The Council was addressed by Israel’s Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism, Michal Cotler-Wunsch, Israel’s Ambassador to Italy, Alon Bar, Italy’s special envoy for combatting antisemitism Pasquale Angelosanto and the President of the Italian Senate, Ignazio La Russa.

Based in Brussels and representing hundreds of Jewish communities across Europe, the European Jewish Association’s Council meeting is a key decision making body of the EJA, bringing Jewish leaders together, to exchange insights and develop the strategic and advocacy backbone of EJA activities and policy for the betterment of Jewish life in Europe in 2024.


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