January 4th, 2005

EJC attends talks in Strasbourg

A meeting was held in Strasbourg in January between high-level representatives of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) and the European Union (EU). EJC President Cobi Benatoff, EJC and WJC Vice President Charlotte Knobloch and EJC Secretary General Serge Cwajgenbaum talked with, among others, Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the EU Council, about rising anti-Semitism in Europe, the EU’s forthcoming resolution on anti-Semitism, commemorative events to mark the 60th anniversary of liberation from Auschwitz, relations between Europe and Israel and the current political situation in the Middle East. On this matter the EJC delegation argued that Hezbollah should be included in the EU’s list of terrorist organizations. Discussions with the leader of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats, Hans Gert Pöttering, focussed primarily on the EJC’s proposal to hold a forum of European Justice, Home and Education Ministers at the European Council in order to combat anti-Semitism. Pöttering sees the resolution of the Middle East conflict as a vital factor in countering anti-Semitism. Talking to Charlotte Knobloch about increasing anti-Semitism in Germany and relations with Moslem communities living in Europe, Pöttering stated clearly that Moslem society had the right to express its positions while respecting the rules of tolerance and mutual respect. At a meeting with the Chairman of the Social Democrats in the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, the fight against anti-Semitism was again on the agenda. Schulz once again stressed that the Social Democrats opposed attempts to co-operate with the French Euro-MP Jean-Marie Le Pen and that there was a need to deepen contacts with Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and with Mahmud Abbas.