BRUSSELS (JTA) – Jews have a bleak present — and future — in Europe because of anti-Semitism.
That was the unusually pessimistic view outlined by the continent’s Jewish community leaders at the European Parliament’s annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day event.
European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor in a speech read for him raised the possibility of Jews leaving Europe amid rising extremism.
And it wasn’t just European Jewish leaders: Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog called the reality for European Jews “a raging crisis” and said that despite efforts to curb the anti-Semitism , one “can no longer ignore that Jews are unsafe walking the streets of Europe.”
Herzog cited a recent assault in Paris on the Jewish Agency’s top envoy there, Daniel Ben-Haim. A security guard tackled the attacker, who targeted Ben-Haim because he wears a kippah, Herzog said.
Kantor’s speech noted a recent poll among Jews in the European Union in which 38 percent said they had considered emigrating because they did not feel safe as Jews.
“If Jews leave Europe, the question is not what will be of Jews,” Kantor said, noting that Israel’s existence assures their survival, “but what will be of Europe.” He called for “urgent action” against anti-Semitism by authorities.
Kantor unexpectedly was prevented from attending the event. Among the 200 on hand for Wednesday’s ceremony in Brussels ahead of the Jan. 27 commemorative day were European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and Susan Pollack, a survivor from Hungary living in the United Kingdom.