Leading European rabbis who gathered at the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) in Toulouse addressed the media on Wednesday regarding the growing anti-Semitism in the continent.
According to Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, said that legislation and implementation of legislation are important steps in fighting anti-Semitism.
“In some countries, the legislation is good; however, the authorities don’t always implement the legislation that exists. So it’s important for us to have proper, adequate laws against hate crimes and against racism, and also for the authorities in our countries to have the determination to guarantee that the law of the land will be upheld,” he said.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, head of the CER, said that he believes most Muslims who came to Europe did so in order to lead normal lives, but “the agenda was hijacked by extremists”.
“When we met with Pope Francis at the Vatican, we mentioned our support, sympathy and prayers for the Christians who live in the Middle East,” he said. “The good news is that there’s a tranquil island in the Middle East which is called Israel, where Christians have full equal rights and freedom of religion.”
Jews in Europe, said Rabbi Goldschmidt, would be in the same position as Christians in the Middle East if governments in Europe would not have done everything in their power to protect Jews. It is for this reason, he added, that the CER chose to give its annual Lord Jakobovits Prize to French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
Antonio Tajani, one of the vice presidents of the European Parliament, attended the same conference where he stressed that Jews belong in Europe.
"Jewish people are European people. We need them – the Jewish people in Europe," Tajani proclaimed. "As I said, Jewish and Christian heritage is our heritage. Without Jewish people, we will have less Europe. We need more Europe."
Tajani made clear his message to European Jews, "Stay in Europe. Europe is your country. Europe is also your building."