“For us all, fellow Europeans, remembrance means to vigorously condemn any forms of anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination on the basis of belief,” Barroso wrote in the letter to Rabbi Levi Matusof of behalf of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe.
“Be assured of my commitment and determination in pursuing that cause,” he added.
Barroso with delegation of rabbis (Photo: Rabbinical Centre of Europe)
Barroso’s comments came only days after Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade, made remarks perceived as anti-Semitic on Belgian radio. De Gucht launched a diatribe about the power of the ‘Jewish Lobby’ in the US and appeared to indicate that Jews are irrational when it comes to the Israel and the Middle East conflict.
The RCE was pleased to receive the greetings and said it hoped Barroso’s message was indicative of a more forceful approach to anti-Semitism in Europe at all levels.
“Barroso’s welcome comments need to be internalised by all Europeans, from the unemployed European to the highest levels of the European Institutions”, Rabbi Arye Goldberg, director deputy of the RCE, said. “De Gucht’s recent comments clearly demonstrate that bigoted ideas about Jews even permeate at the European leadership and this problem needs to be immediately addressed.”
“The fact that last year showed the greatest number of anti-Semitic attacks since the end of the Holocaust shows that we are going in the wrong direction and we call on the European Commission to address the growing number of attacks against Jewish sites, institutions and individuals.”
Barroso’s letter also referred to an “ethical crisis” in Europe brought on by economic and financial crisis. “What in the end is at stake is not only economic recovery but rather our fundamental values, the European values, the very basis upon which the European project rests: the respect for fundamental rights and democratic liberties”, Barroso wrote to the RCE.
In the letter Barroso thanked the RCE for its “attachment to the European project” and wishes a Shana Tova, a good year in Hebrew.
The RCE is an organization dedicated to meeting the religious and spiritual needs of Jewish communities in Europe.
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