EJC President Kantor congratulates German Chancellor Merkel on award of Leo Baeck Prize

Berlin, 7 November, 2007 – The President of the European Jewish Congress (EJC), Moshe Kantor, has congratulated Germany’s Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel on this year’s award to her of the prestigious Leo Baeck Prize by the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

Kantor attended the award ceremony at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin on Tuesday. He declared afterwards: “Chancellor Merkel deserves this prize because she has made great efforts to ensure that Jewish life can again flourish in Germany. After the Shoah, it is almost miracle to see how Jews have again embraced Germany as a place to live and to raise their children. Angela Merkel has shown leadership on Europe, on the Middle East conflict and on the question of Iran. She is a friend of the Jewish people and deserves this prize very much,” the EJC President added.

Referring to the threat posed by a nuclear Iran, Kantor called on the international community to step up pressure against the regime in Tehran: “Years of talks have produced only one thing: more talks. Yet Iran continues to defy its international obligations whilst actively pursuing its nuclear program. We cannot allow them not to face the consequences of their defiance.”

He called on the UN Security Council to make it clear to the Iranian regime that a refusal to comply would have serious consequences.

Moshe Kantor also raised the issue of Holocaust remembrance as an important tool for educating younger generations. “I believe the fight against racism, xenophobia and antisemitism in Europe can only be won if we give education about, and remembrance of, the Holocaust the priority it deserves. It is not just a matter of good education in schools; we need the efforts of civil society and political leaders as a whole. In many European countries, neo-Nazis and antisemites are already back in business. We owe it to the survivors of the Shoah not to relent in the struggle against any form of discrimination,” the EJC President said.

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We urge the European Union and its member states to totally isolate Iran economically and politically from the international family of nations by strongly enforcing and extending sanctions against the Islamic Republic.