Published on 30 May 2014

WJC reacts to surge of far-right in European elections, urges EU leaders to act

Published in WJC official site, May 26, 2014

“The surge of far-right and anti-Semitic parties in a number of countries is a shock and a reason for great worry. European leaders must address this problem urgently and come up with a strategy to fight extremism. The future of European Jewry is a stake if these forces are not reined in.

Extremists must not be allowed to set the agenda in Europe,” World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder said in reaction to the results of EU-wide elections for the European Parliament. He urged European governments to enter into a constructive dialogue with the WJC on this issue.

The poll in the 28 EU member states saw a strong showing of xenophobic and anti-Semitic groups in a number of countries, including in Austria, France, Greece and Hungary. Several heads of European Jewish communities shared Lauder’s view.

“Jews cannot be expected to remain silent when radical or extremist parties that used to be on the margins of politics make it into the top three in several countries, and in the case of France even come out on top,” said Ronald S. Lauder, adding: “Even if they remain a minority in the new European Parliament, these parties will be able to influence the European agenda, unless they are completely isolated. In the wake of the Brussels and Toulouse murders of Jews, it is high time the EU leaders came up with a credible plan on how to combat anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia on the continent, and how to ensure that Jews and other minorities are protected effectively. In this, the voice of the Jewish communities must be heard and concerns about their safety taken seriously.”

WJC Vice-President Roger Cukierman, the head of the Jewish umbrella organization CRIF in France, where the far-right National Front (FN) of Marine Le Pen polled 26 percent of the vote and became the strongest party, declared: “This weekend, we witnessed the deadly attack in Brussels, the anti-Semitic incident in Créteil, and the result of the European elections. We are very worried. While the strong result of the FN can be explained with the economic crisis in France, which must be overcome, it is also of critical importance that the mainstream republican parties reestablish trust with French citizens.”… Read more.