A European Jewish Congress (EJC) delegation led by President Pierre Besnainou met in Brussels yesterday, the 23rd of November, with the President of the European Commission Jos Manuel Barroso, calling on the Commission to encourage moderate Islamic and Arab countries to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel.
During this meeting, the EJC delegation presented President Barroso with the EJC’s plan of action for contributing to European-Israeli relations and combating anti-Semitism in Europe. To promote the latter, President Besnainou voiced his support for the harmonisation of laws against hate crimes, incitement to hate, violence, racism and xenophobia in all EU member states.
The EJC has been actively campaigning for the normalization of relations between Israel and Arab and Muslim states, having brought this up in meetings last month with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is currently President of the European Council of the European Union, (EU) and Javier Solana, the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy and Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union.
President Besnainou added, “Through its diplomatic and economic relations, the European Union has the capacity to urge these countries to normalize relations with Israel, an act which will create a climate of trust in the region” to which President Barroso agreed.
The EJC delegation included Roger Cukierman (EJC Vice-President and President of the CRIF, France), Charlotte Knobloch, (EJC Vice president and Vice-President of the Zentralrat der Juden, Germany) Philippe Markiewicz, President of the Jewish Community of Belgium, Jos Oulman Carp, President of the Jewish Community of Portugal and Serge Cwajgenbaum, EJC Secretary General.
The European Jewish Congress is the representative body of European Jewish communities in Europe, federating the 40 elected leaders of national Jewish communities, encompassing approximately 2.5 million Jews.