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European Jewish Congress demands stronger response to spate of anti-Semitic attacks

BERLIN (JTA) — The European Jewish Congress is demanding a more proactive response to the recent escalation in anti-Semitic attacks around Europe, which its leader called “smaller tremors before a massive earthquake.”

On Thursday, a French Jewish teenager, who attends the Toulouse school where in March Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah shot dead three children and a teacher, was attacked while traveling by train between Toulouse and Lyon.

“While we appreciate the strong condemnation and quick reaction by the French Interior Ministry after this attack, we call on authorities to take a more proactive approach so there would be no reason for statements of regret and denunciation,” Moshe Kantor, president of the EJC, said. “All these smaller attacks remind me of smaller tremors before a massive earthquake. The Jewish community cannot afford to be subject to an earthquake and the authorities cannot say that the writing was not on the wall.”

In recent days, shots were fired at a yeshiva in Manchester, England; swastikas and death threats sprayed on a Jewish Agency for Israel building in Russia; a rabbi in France assaulted while riding the subway; and Jewish cemeteries desecrated in Germany.

The EJC has been leading an awareness campaign among European authorities about ways to deal with the growing attacks against Jews on the continent. 

The organization has outlined steps such as legislative efforts to ban any form of incitement and equipping authorities with tools to confront attempts at the expansion of terrorist and violent activities against Jewish communities.

“In the past, pogroms were perpetuated to strike fear and terror into Jewish communities,” Serge Cwajgenbaum, the EJC’s secretary general, said. “These attacks feel like mini-pogroms because they are installing a fear in some communities of Europe that Jews have not known for many years.”

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