Jewish leaders from across Europe called on Monday on Jewish organizations to reject “intersectionality” due to Zionist exclusion which creates a lack of solidarity with Jews. They also called on Israeli politicians to rise above differences, and urged legislation that bars from office EU politicians with avowed antisemitic positions.
These claims were voiced at the European Jewish Association (EJA) Annual Conference in Porto, Portugal yesterday.
Titled “Shaping the Future of European Jewry Together,” the conference was held in partnership with the Jewish Community of Porto and the EMIH Jewish community of Hungary headed by Rabbi Shlomo Koves. Over 100 presidents and board members of Jewish communities across Europe attended, along with government and regional special envoys for Combating Antisemitism.
What did the conference cover?
The two-day conference included panel discussions on national plans for combating antisemitism, online hate, a new youth leaders program for campus activity and youth experiences of hate, ending Nazi memorabilia trade, bringing forward a women’s leadership forum and more. EJA is a Jewish-European NGO, and is one of several umbrella Jewish organizations. It was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Brussels.
The conference culminated in a resolution passed by vote in a show of hands that will be forwarded to governments across Europe and to the Leadership of the European Union institutions, stating that antisemitism is unique and must be separated in national plans from other forms of hate.
The resolution also calls on Jewish organizations to reject “intersectionality” due to Zionist exclusion and a lack of solidarity with Jews, as well as on Israeli politicians to rise above their differences in the current tense political climate. It also urged governments to push for legislation barring from office EU politicians with avowed antisemitic positions.
Notable figures addressing the conference included European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, The General Secretary of the French Inter-ministerial delegation for the fight against racism and antisemitism Mrs. Elise Fajgeles, the Personal Representative of Chairman in Office on Combating antisemitism OSCE Rabbi Andrew Baker, Chair of the Woman’s Impact Forum at the World Jewish Congress Ruth Wasserman Lande, World Zionist Organisation Head of Department for combating antisemitism Raheli Baratz-Rix and the CEO of NGO Monitor Prof. Gerald Steinberg.
EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, a Chabad emissary in Belgium and chairman of the Rabbinical Center of Europe, stated that as governments across Europe are coming forward with plans affecting Jewish life on the continent, it is important to ask what kind of future is desired and what part everyone can do to make that vision a reality.
European Commission Vice-President Mr. Margaritis Schinas praised EJA for its contribution to making Jewish life viable and ensuring the prosperity of European Jewry. He noted that antisemitism is on the rise and unfortunately Jewish institutions across the continent must invest more and more in security. He added that approximately 38% of Jews in Europe are considering leaving Europe because they feel unsafe and that it is the responsibility of every government in the EU to protect its Jewish citizens.
Israeli Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism Minister Amichai Chikli said in a recorded message that Diaspora Jews are also experience suffering during times of tension in the Middle East, expressing concern about troubling trends, such as the intention of the European Students Union to embrace the BDS movement which could make Jewish students studying on different campuses across Europe targets for attacks and discomfort. It emphasized that it is necessary to work together.
Gabriel Senderowicz , president of Jewish Community of Porto, spoke about how European governments confuse Jewish life with Jewish heritage.
Koves added that some social and political movements in Europe may want to forget about antisemitism after years have gone by since the Holocaust. He emphasized that antisemitism is a unique form of hate requiring separate attention from other forms of prejudice.