GENEVA – The success enjoyed by extreme right-wing parties in the European Parliament elections last week have raised concern among Jewish leaders in the continent.
"We were not surprised by these results," European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor told Yedioth Ahronoth. "They represent the processes that are taking place in Europe.
"The historical memory is losing ground. Europe is undergoing a negative period right now. Public opinion overlooks the nuclearization of third world countries and ignores the expansion of the extreme Right, racism and anti-Semitism in Europe."
Kantor believes that "we must act to increase the struggle against extremism and anti-Semitism in a pin-pointed, effective manner."
As part of these efforts Kantor inaugurated on Saturday an exhibition of paintings by Jewish artists at the UN office in Geneva, where the Durban II conference, which hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took place.
This is the first time that the works, all taken from Kantor's private collection and which include paintings by Marc Chagall, Chaim Soutine, Alexander Tischler ad David Sternberg are being displayed outside Russia.
"This exhibit, which focuses on the creations of Jewish artists, is a direct response to the address that was given here recently by a certain person," said Kantor, hinting to the Iranian president.
"Seventy years after World War two, that same person declares his intention to wipe Israel off the map. We couldn't have found a better place for sending a message of reconciliation and tolerance, which are the leading themes in the works of the Jewish artists.
"We are a people of tolerance and creation. We only attack when there is an absolute need to defend ourselves," Kantor concluded.