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Germany suspends EJC membership

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Another country has left the European Jewish Congress.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany announced its decision Monday to suspend its membership in the EJC, becoming the fourth European Jewish organization to leave the EJC over a controversial decision made at its recent meeting in Paris.

The EJC, which has 42 member countries and is a subsidiary of the World Jewish Congress, voted 51-34 on Feb. 10 to extend terms for officers to four years from two. The extension was applied retroactively to the EJC’s president, Moshe Kantor, who was elected in June 2007, as well as to his board. Kantor is the first person from a former Eastern bloc country to lead the organization.

The German-Jewish umbrella group, at its Sunday meeting, unanimously condemned the developments at the Paris convention. It announced its solidarity with the other three countries that had left the body in
protest: France, Portugal and Austria.

The German council condemned “the methods of EJC President Moshe Kantor” as “deeply disturbing.”

But the council’s secretary general, Stefan Kramer, told JTA that his group’s withdrawal is a suspension and that he’d rather see the EJC’s “success story continue” than build an alternative organization, as some other countries have proposed.

The development underscores months of tensions between some of the Western European EJC members and Kantor.

Reacting to the German move, the EJC secretary general, Serge Cwajgenbaum, said, “The EJC finds this decision regrettable and has decided to establish a conciliatory commission so that we can find the best way to bring unity back to the organization.”

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