(Tuesday, October 27, 2020) – Dr. Moshe Kantor was re-elected as President of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) today. Dr. Kantor ran unopposed, in what is seen as a resounding vote of confidence in his leadership by the representatives of Europe’s Jewish communities.
Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was re-elected as Chair of the Council.
“I am honoured and humbled by the support shown in my leadership by Jewish leaders and communities across the continent,” Dr. Kantor said. “European Jewry is a thriving force in the global Jewish world, and we remain at the forefront of fighting antisemitism, defending Jewish tradition and reinvigorating Jewish communities and institutions.”
In recent months, under Kantor’s leadership, the EJC has acted to provide support for Jewish communities and institutions, whether schools, community centers or other organizations vital to European Jewry, faced with the hard challenge of Covid-19.
“These have been very challenging times for European Jews”, Dr. Kantor continued. “I witness in my conversations with Jewish leaders, heads of state and decision-makers around the continent that despite the challenges of Covid-19 and rising antisemitism, European Jews are resolute and determined to continue working together to overcome these challenges and strengthen Jewish life in Europe.”
During the virtual General Assembly, leaders from 42 European Jewish communities also pledged new action to promote the implementation of the IHRA definition of antisemitism on the national level.
Additionally, European Jewish leaders were briefed on the recent historic Abraham Accords between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and the United States by H.E. Emmanuel Nachshon, Ambassador of Israel to Belgium and Luxembourg, and Nancy Khedouri, senior Jewish member of the National Assembly of Bahrain.
Ms. Khedouri spoke about her nation’s historic adoption of the IHRA definition. “This is an important decision which should be welcomed by all. Bahrain is committed to combating all types of hate. I applaud Dr. Kantor’s leadership on this and other issues and wish him many more years of concerted activity and success on behalf of the Jewish people.”
Katharina von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator on combating Antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, congratulated Kantor for his reelection, saying that “The continuous confidence that the Jewish community has put in you once more is a testimony of your strong leadership and commitment, which are so much needed in these challenging times.
“I applaud your dedication for the prosperity and the protection of the European Jewish community by fervently engaging in the fight against antisemitism, and for the remembrance of the Shoah, a cause that you made it your own ever since your first engagement in public activity.”
The President of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), Francis Kalifat congratulated Dr. Kantor on his re-election: “In these troubling times for Europe, the strong leadership and the enduring commitment shown by Moshe Kantor promoting Holocaust Remembrance, combatting antisemitism and preserving Jewish identity lends European Jews in general, and French Jews in particular, a powerful and respected voice to safeguard our interests,” said Mr. Kalifat.
Senior British leaders also congratulated Dr. Kantor and applauded his ongoing work on behalf of European Jewry.
“I was delighted to hear that Dr. Moshe Kantor has been re-elected as President of the European Jewish Congress, put forward by British Jewry for the third consecutive time. This is a great tribute to Moshe for the wonderful work that he has done.” said Lord Michael Levy, Life President of Jewish Care and President of JFS.
“Moshe has shown vision, creativity and true leadership over these last years. He has dealt with every crisis in a thoughtful and dignified manner, which has been so important for every country within the framework of the EJC.”
“Moshe Kantor is a man of action and deeds not merely words,” said Lord John Mann, Independent Advisor to the UK Government on Anti-Semitism. “His leadership has propelled EJC onto the world stage and will be vital in combating the growing scourge of antisemitism in the next years.”
“Marie Van der Zyl is one of the women to have battled to the top of Jewish communal leadership, her unique insight will be a welcome and fresh input into the leadership of the EJC.”
“Congratulations to Moshe Kantor on his well-deserved election,” said Lord Eric Pickles, the UK Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues. “His organisation of the World Holocaust Forum earlier this year in Jerusalem was a dignified, moving and very effective way of remembering the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Death Camps. Moshe is known and admired throughout the world as a champion of the truth.”
“Marie van der Zyl is also a champion of the truth. I have worked closely with her on our joint endeavour of tackling Antisemitism in the UK. She is respected in government. Her unstinting support for the new Holocaust and Learning Centre next to Parliament makes her a powerful advocate for remembrance.“ added Lord Pickles.
“I also want to add my congratulations to Marie van der Zyl, for being elected as Chair of the EJC Council,” said Lord Levy, “This is particularly poignant for British Jewry as Marie is also President of the Board of Deputies.”