Jews: Far-right gains in Europe alarming

European Jewish Congress: Success of rabid groups will embolden proponents of anti-Semitism.

european elections 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
european elections 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Jewish groups across Europe reacted to far-right gains in the European parliamentary elections by urging the EU on Tuesday to do more to tackle racism and intolerance. The European Jewish Congress, which represents Jewish communities across Europe, said winning seats in the European Parliament based on "racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic platforms" pointed to an erosion of tolerance. Results of voting for a new European Union assembly showed that far-right parties in the Netherlands, Britain, Austria, Hungary, Denmark and Romania posted significant victories. In a statement, the Paris-based Jewish Congress called that a "clarion call" for the EU to tackle racism and intolerance through legislation and dialogue. "Europeans of all backgrounds, ethnicities and religions are looking to our elected officials to unite, rather than divide us," it said. The congress also said the victory of groups using racist and xenophobic platforms "belies a disturbing acquiescence of government to this type of incitement and a need for immediate action and education." It said it was troubled by the fact that far-right forces did better than in the last EU assembly elections in 2004 and that they were scattered across the 27-nation EU. "The success of such rabid groups as The Freedom Party in the Netherlands, the Freedom Party in Austria... the British National Party, and Jobbik in Hungary, among others, will sadly only serve to embolden those who espouse the dangerous concepts of extreme nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia," the congress said. It urged the European Parliament and the European Commission, the EU executive, to work for effective anti-racism legislation.