Seeking the truth for European Jewry

Almost 80% of Europeans don’t have any access to sources of information about the reality in the Middle East.

JN1 logo 311 (photo credit: JN1)
JN1 logo 311
(photo credit: JN1)
For a long time, from 1945 to the present day, the lives of Jews in Europe have been like a broken record. The same people have remained in power, and the word that describes the situation best is “monotony.”
Leaders of the European organizations formed cliques that delegated their members to these organizations, and as a result, new ideas were never introduced.
We were proud that Jews elsewhere had created new social networks on the Internet such as Facebook. Yet the Jewish organizations in Europe did not advance with these new trends.
That is why, in the spring of 2011, we created the Brussels-based European Jewish Union (EJU), an organization in which membership on an individual basis was finally allowed; that is, from now on, individual people and not only organizations can join as full members. In short, every person, organization, community and media group connected to the Jewish world can become a member of this organization.
After the first meetings, and in particular a big conference (more than 1,000 attendees) in which many Jewish youth representatives from Paris took part, it became clear that the European Jewish world was not keeping up with the ever-changing reality.
The decision was then made to adopt the idea of President Shimon Peres to create a European Jewish Parliament that would raise up European Jewry from the dire situation in which it found itself. The European Jewish Parliament would be modeled on the Knesset, with 120 members, and represent the concerns of the Jewish community to the European Union.
According to our surveys, almost 80 percent of people living in Europe don’t have any access to sources of information about the reality of the situation in the Middle East, and yet many of them have an opinion about it, mainly, unfortunately, not in favor of Israel.
Moreover, the communication of the various Jewish parliaments with the leadership of the Jewish communities is limited to the local level. But several organizations that attempted to do something on the European level were not able to fill this information gap.
We decided to create the European Jewish Parliament on an entirely different basis. Any European citizen may nominate himself or anybody else as a candidate for the parliament. The voting process is conducted on the Internet through the following link – – and lacks any selection barriers, such that any person can be nominated or voted for, with the sole condition that the vote is made for a candidate from your own country. The following objections were raised:
First, the fact that a person who is not interested in working in the parliament may be nominated. We think that this is normal. If France has 10 spots, and if any of the elected candidates decides not to accept the nomination, then the next in line will receive the position. We decided against allowing the cancelation of a candidacy, so as to maintain the democratic nature of the entire process.
Second, many of the Jewish leaders received low numbers of votes. This, of course, wasn’t a big shock to us, but could be an unpleasant surprise for older leaders who sat for years, and sometimes even decades, in their seats without changing a thing in the world.
Even the preliminary results of the elections show that Jewish European organizations need serious rejuvenation. And there is nothing horrible about change, despite the threat it poses to the elderly activists. The fact is that the Jewish youth is the future of not only the local communities, but of the whole of Europe Jewry.
When we are asked why we are creating the European Jewish Parliament while there are other organizations around, the answer is simple: If we would have seen demonstrations in support of Israel and active political work on “the Jewish agenda,” and if Europe was on our side, there would be no need for this parliament; but, unfortunately, the reality is different.
If the organizations that are active in Europe today are not able to fulfill these demands to the fullest, we cannot and will not remain silent and do nothing.
We want the leaders and parliaments of Europe to hear the voice of the Jewish minorities. We want to achieve a dialogue on the level of the European Parliament. We will not concern ourselves with problems that are unrelated to those of European Jewry, but we will represent our organization (the European Jewish Parliament) to the European Parliament and raise issues important to us as an organization and to every member of the EJU individually.
To improve the situation in the information arena, we have created a new TV channel, Jewish News One, the first Jewish news station that during the last four months has successfully captured the attention of the European public. In my opinion, there has been nothing like it in terms of growth rate.
Some ask us: “What is it good for? For 50 years, we have been hearing that Jews have taken over the mass media!” An analysis will show the opposite. My favorite example is that when terrorists murdered an entire family six months ago in Israel (the Fogels in Itamar), no media source in Europe reported on the tragedy.
This is why we created Jewish News One, which broadcasts the truth about the situation in the Middle East to the whole of Europe and the entire world. We also hope that, G-d willing, we will soon create a parliament that will bring out the truth about Israel and the Middle East, and most important the reality of life in the Jewish communities in Europe, to the Europeans, their parliaments and their leaders.
The writer is vice president of the European Jewish Union.