European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor said today that the results of the European elections and particularly the alarming surge in support for extremist parties is a clear warning sign that political elites must tackle the daily concerns of Europe’s citizens.
“The alarming successes of extremist parties in these elections is the result of the passivity of European leaders and governments to deal with real issues facing European citizens,” Kantor said.
Kantor spoke after meeting with senior Belgian politicians including Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo in the aftermath of the terror shooting at the Jewish Museum in central Brussels, which left three people dead and one seriously injured and in critical condition.
“What better example is there of the lack of security, the absence of tolerance and the climate of fear in our European cities than this attack on Jews in the capital of Europe?” Kantor said.
In France, one of the six founder states of the European Union, the far-Right Front National topped the poll with more than one in four French voters giving it support. Similar strong showings were seen from other far-right groupings including Austria’s Freedom Party while clear neo-Nazi groups are about to enter the European Parliament from Greece, Hungary and Germany.
“To protect the values of our modern unified Europe we need European leaders to bolster existing legislation against hate, law enforcement agencies to strengthen enforcement and educators to teach against hate, intolerance and xenophobia to the next generation,” Kantor said.
“The European Union is supposed to be the bulwark against the rise of racism and intolerance but it has become the catalyst for the justification of its citizens to vote for extremists and racists.”
“There is insecurity and there are real concerns over national identity. The Jewish community knows very well about immigration and we know about how minorities integrate into societies. These are real concerns, as much for minority communities as for indigenous citizens. If we want to combat anti-Semitism, racism and intolerance, we must address these issues,” Kantor concluded.