A high-level delegation of the EJC was in Brussels on January 28th, 2008. The delegation included EJC president Moshe Kantor, Chairman of the EJC Board of Governors Flo Kaufmann, and Secretary General Serge Cwajgenbaum. The delegation held separate meetings with José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission and Ian Figel, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth.
In his exchange with President Barroso, Moshe Kantor expressed the EJC’s particular concern regarding the situation of antisemitism in Europe and the Iranian nuclear threat. Other topics discussed included EU-Israeli relations and the preparations for Kristallnacht commemorative events. While meeting with Commissioner Figel, a special emphasis was dedicated to the 2008 European year of Intercultural Dialogue and the partnership of the European Commission to Kristallnacht’s commemoration.
Moshe Kantor was the keynote speaker at the commemorative event held at the European Parliament to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Kantor also spoke about the importance of the Remembrance Day for European Jewry and warned Europe of the dangers of trivializing the Shoah. He stressed the necessity to promote the fight against xenophobia, anti-Semitism and all forms of racism in Europe and the rest of the world. In a spirit of preserving historical memory, Kantor announced his plan to hold the third international forum scheduled for November of 2008 Let My People Live, an event that will mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
The bloodshed that took place in November 1938 during the infamous “Night of the Broken Glass” was a harbinger of the hate and animosity unleashed against Jews living in Germany and Austria, brought a few months later to unprecedented levels in horror and genocide in the history of mankind.
The European Parliament held its ceremony as part of the global commemorative initiative dedicated to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day designated by the [UN General Assembly->http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/ga10413.doc.htm] in 2005. The ceremony was also addressed by Prof. Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament, Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, Mr. Majalli Whbee, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, Helmut Specht, Chairman of the European Coalition for Israel and Member of European Parliament Ingo Friedrich from Germany who cosponsored the event.
The delegation also met with the Member of European Parliament Elmar Brok, former Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, Jana Hybaskova, Chairperson of the delegation for relations with Israel of the European Parliament, Prof. Bronislaw Geremek, as well as with Tamar Samash, Israeli Ambassador to Belgium and with Joel Rubinfeld, head of the Jewish Community of Belgium.