Financial Times : On Iran, Europe’s Jews have trust in Russia

November 2007
The president of the European Jewish Congress (EJC), Moshe Kantor, believes in a joint action by Russia, the United States and Europe against the Iranian nuclear programme. However, he does not want to see the country isolated.

“I am convinced that the three – the US, the united Europe and Russia – can be united in order to stop the nuclear armament of Iran” Kantor told the FTD. He rejected fears that Russia could block a new round of sanctions against Iran.

Kantor, who also heads the Russian Jewish Congress and has good relations with president Vladimir Putin, based his argument on Russia’s own security interests: “Iran is a bigger threat to Russia than to America or Western Europe. There are only 2000 kilometres between the Iranian border and the historic centre of Russia.” Thus Russia and Israel were equally at threat.

The EJC is pushing for a tough stance against Iran because its president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad advocates the destruction of Israel. “The Iranian nuclear armement must be stopped immediately” Kantor said. However, military action should a “very last step.” The international community’s strategy was aimed at the Iranian leadership and not the country as a whole.
“We shouldn’t isolated Iran completely – like in the case of Cuba.”

Kantor was in Berlin for the award of the Leo Baeck Prize to Chancellor Angela Merkel. With this prize, the Central Council of Jews in Germany was honouring Merkel for her work in fostering understanding between Jews and non-Jews. “Jews can be happy again in Germany” said Kantor, but the EJC president warned of “rising antisemitism in all European countries.” Despite the clear stance of Merkel and Putin on the issue he was unhappy about the actual measures taken by authorities.


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