(photo credit: AP)
The heads of the World Jewish and European Jewish congresses stressed the need to focus on rising anti-Semitism in Europe and Iran's nuclear program in meetings with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin on Monday.
Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, and Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, were accompanied by Charlotte Knobloch, president of Germany's Central Council of Jews, and WJC secretary-general Michael
"[Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is a threat to Europe, too." Kantor said. "Iran is a center of world terrorism and having nuclear capabilities will allow Iran to equip terrorist organizations throughout the world.
Lauder and Kantor advocated "tough measures against the threat posed by Islamist terrorism" and condemned developments in some Central European countries, where far-right paramilitary groups were forming and parading in the streets, as occurred recently in Hungary.
"The specter of Nazism and fascism must not be allowed to get the upper hand again in Europe," Lauder said. He supported calls by German nongovernmental organizations for an annual report on anti-Semitism to be compiled, as in done in other countries such as the UK.
Lauder praised Merkel's leadership and called for a bigger role for Germany in the Middle East.
"Six decades after the Holocaust, Germany under Chancellor Merkel commands sufficient respect among the family of nations to be a measured and moderate force in world affairs," Lauder said. "It has become a symbol for democracy, the rule of law and the protection of minorities in the world."