In an open letter to the French President, published in the magazine Le Point, the President of the European Jewish Congress Dr. Ariel Muzicant defends his predecessor, who has been ‘unfairly targeted’ by the European Union.
Here you can find the original letter in French: https://www.lepoint.fr/monde/sanctions-contre-la-russie-president-macron-retirez-moshe-kantor-de-la-liste-des-proches-de-poutine-03-08-2023-2530535_24.php
I would like to draw your attention to the case of Dr Moshe Kantor, who in April 2022 was put by the European Union on the list of individuals subject to sanctions because of his close ties with Russia. This decision is not only incomprehensible, but perfectly strange, even absurd. There is no evidence, no explanation.
Dr Moshe Kantor is accused of being close to Vladimir Putin, of being part of the group of oligarchs who surround him and help him in his war against Ukraine: nothing could be further from the truth! Mr Kantor is only one of the beneficial owners of a Russian company that manufactures fertilisers. Half his family is Ukrainian. He left Russia over thirty years ago and is now a British citizen.
I know Dr Moshe Kantor well, and I succeeded him as head of the European Jewish Congress. I have worked with him for a long time. I have been highly impressed by his great contribution to the well-being of our communities in Europe.
He has set up an unparalleled security mechanism to protect these communities at a time when violent antisemitism and terrorism have begun to threaten us like never before (SACC by EJC [European Jewish Congress Security and Crisis Centre, NDLR])).
He has placed the preservation of the memory of the Shoah at the centre of the international agenda, mobilising the highest heads of state and government, working tirelessly to educate the younger generations, and working, as few of us have done, to ensure that the greatest crime against humanity is never forgotten or denied.
As a founder and chairman of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation, Moshe Kantor has organised five international forums, the last of which was co-organised at Yad Vashem in 2020 in collaboration with the President of the State of Israel Reuven Rivlin to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.
Over fifty European and global leaders met on this occasion to pledge to perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust and to fight against antisemitism. You were there, Mr President, and I know you were personally moved.
Moshe Kantor has also created targeted tools for national governments and pan-European organisations to combat antisemitism and, more recently, has led initiatives within our communities in Europe to protect refugees fleeing war.
He has received widespread public recognition for all his work against antisemitism, racism and exclusion. European heads of state and government, including those of the French Republic, have awarded him the most prestigious distinctions.
Faced with the war in Ukraine, the European Union’s decisions demand precision, efficiency and justice. The decision to sanction Moshe Kantor, the only Jewish leader to have been democratically elected to this position on several occasions, is incomprehensible and does nothing to further the fundamental objectives pursued by Europe in the face of this war. Above all, it is profoundly unjust because the targeting of this Jewish leader, who has been the voice and support of Europe’s Jewish communities for almost twenty years, directly affects Jewish organisations, communities and life on the European continent.
Sanctioning Dr Moshe Kantor does nothing for the cause of peace in Europe, but does a great disservice to the Jews of Europe.
The collateral damage affects the many programmes that he personally launched and directed. It affects the well-being and safety of our communities. They sow confusion among us and paralyse our action.
This action is destroying Jewish life in Europe. Without Dr Kantor’s support and impetus, dozens of projects would have had to be halted, particularly in the field of security.
It is for these reasons that I cannot remain silent and is writing this letter. If I am pleading for Moshe Kantor’s cause with you, Mr President, it is because I know the authority you enjoy throughout the world, particularly on the European continent.
I am convinced that you will use this influence and moral authority to ensure that the sanctions against him should be reviewed. Removing Dr Moshe Kantor’s name from the list of [people subject to] sanctions, clearing up the misunderstanding, righting the wrong and doing so very quickly, is a political and moral requirement that concerns us all.
Thank you, Mr President, for your attention to this letter. Yours respectfully
Dr Ariel Muzicant”