The European Jewish Congress (EJC) held its Annual General Assembly in Brussels on January 24th, 2017. Over 30 presidents and representatives of European Jewish communities were present.
President Moshe Kantor, in his opening remarks, gave an overview of 2016 with its main challenges and successes for EJC and the Jewish communities. Dr. Kantor particularly mentioned the growth of Islamic terrorism and extremism, the rise of the far-right and the recent UNESCO resolutions, which were highly damaging for the Jewish People. Positive developments were discussed including the adoption of the Working Definition on Antisemitism by IHRA and the British Government as well as the development of the EJC Security and Crisis Management project (SACC by EJC).
Issues such as Communal Security, Holocaust restitution and Brexit, with a presentation by the Board of Deputies Senior Vice-President Richard Verber were among the topics on the agenda. Professor Dina Porat, Head of the Kantor Center for the study of Contemporary European Jewry, at the Tel Aviv University, also addressed the audience to present the tools and assets of the Centre for Jewish Communities but with a particular focus on the re-implementation of the working definition on Antisemitism.
The General Assembly ended with the announcement of the establishment of an EJC Award to be bestowed upon two personalities from the same country who have contributed to the local Jewish community’s welfare.
All those who participated appreciated the friendly and open atmosphere, which allowed for comprehensive and in debt discussions addressing the needs and specificities of each community present.
A dinner was held with the participation of special guests of honour including the new Israeli Ambassador to the European Union and the first Israeli Ambassador to NATO, H.E. Ahron Leshno-Yaar, Israeli Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, H.E. Simona Frankel among other Ambassadors, movie Director Andrey Konchalovsky, Members of the European Parliament, the EC Coordinator for Antisemitism, Mrs. Katharina von Schnurbein and other representatives of the European Commission.