The European Jewish Congress held its Executive Meeting on 10 September 2017 in London, where members of the Executive had the opportunity to discuss pressing issues affecting Jewish communities in Europe today.
After warm welcoming words by EJC Chairman of the Council and President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Jonathan Arkush, EJC Executive Vice-President Raya Kalenova briefed Executive members on the latest developments and activities by the EJC, in particular the recent European Parliament Resolution on combatting antisemitism adopted on 1 June 2017. The Resolution is an invaluable tool in the fight against antisemitism.
Although the adoption of the Resolution is a great success in the fight against antisemitism, there is a lot of work ahead regarding the implementation of the Resolution’s policy recommendations. Consequently, EJC Director of EU Affairs Nuno Wahnon Martins introduced Executive Members to a comprehensive strategy outlining the roles that the EJC and Jewish communities should play in order to make good use of the momentum created by the Resolution.
Another matter of concern to the EJC Executive is the assault on religious freedoms affecting Jewish Communities across Europe, in particular concerning restrictions on the practices of Shechita and Brit Milah, which are essential to Jewish life. In order to highlight these issues, experts and leaders of the Jewish Communities of Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom gave presentations on recent developments in their countries and discussed possible approaches in the defence of Jewish religious freedoms.
Moving forward, Executive members from France, Hungary, and the United Kingdom gave updates to the Executive on matters affecting their respective communities, such as the substantial underreporting of antisemitic hate crime in the case of France, and the deteriorating relationship between the government and the representative Jewish community, in the case of Hungary.
In the same context, Raya Kalenova briefed the Executive on the situation concerning the relationship between the Jewish Community of Poland and the current government in Warsaw. Accordingly, the Executive recognised that the recent statement by EJC President Moshe Kantor was essential in drawing attention to this troubling issue.
Finally, the Executive meeting concluded with a report from the EJC Restitution Commission.