President of the European Jewish Council Moshe Kantor..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A pan-European Jewish organization claimed on Monday that parts of Europe are “already ripe for a terrorist attack” by Islamic State.
“Over the last few weeks we have witnessed tens of thousands of radical Islamists on the streets of Europe calling for jihad, the slaughter of Jews and the imposition of Shari’a law,” European Jewish Congress head Dr. Moshe Kantor said in a statement on Monday.
“The fact that specifically Jewish targets have been attacked in growing numbers demonstrates that the perpetrators are seeking to ignite a religious war on the continent and in some cases the authorities have been slow to act, further emboldening the extremists. The level of violence and rhetoric has only increased and it is clear that terrorist groups like Islamic State, whose flag has been waved openly across Europe, are watching the impunity of these violent demonstrations and taking note,” Kantor said.
Citing the May attack on a Jewish museum in Brussels by a “terrorist with ties to Islamic State,” Kantor said that unless European leaders can prevent the importation of extremism into their counties and stand vigilant against homegrown incitement and extremism, “this could be the first of many attacks.”
Earlier this year, following a report by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency citing Jews’ increased contemplation of emigration from several countries, Kantor told reporters that unless the level of fear felt by European Jews can be lessened, the future of their communities will be in doubt.
Anti-Semitic incidents have continued spiking in parallel with the IDF operation in Gaza, with daily reports of attacks on Jews.
According to the Community Security Trust, the British anti-Semitism watchdog, incidents of violence or harassment of Jews have increased by 500 percent since the beginning of the current round of hostilities in the Middle East.
Recent reports that the Islamic State member responsible for beheading American journalist James Foley in Syria was a British citizen have sent shock waves throughout Europe.
The EJC is an affiliate of the World Jewish Congress, whose head Ronald Lauder recently warned that should European leaders fail to protect local Jewish communities “Jews will ultimately turn their back on your countries.”
While European immigration to Israel has risen significantly, no mass exodus on par with that seen from Eastern Europe following the fall of communism is currently expected.