A “Europe without the Jews is no longer Europe,” the first vice president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans told a gathering of the continent’s Orthodox religious leaders on Wednesday. “We need your contribution to have this debate,” said Timmermans, who spoke to the 29th convention of the Conference of European Rabbis via a recorded message from Brussels.
Timmermans — who heads the Commission’s “dialogue with religions” — said recent attacks at a kosher supermarket in Paris and at the main synagogue in Copenhagen were just the “tip of the iceberg” of European anti-Semitism, reports The Algemeiner.
“Antisemitic behavior and speech run deeper,” he told the conference. He said the conference’s choice to convene this year in Toulouse is “highly symbolic,” referring to the 2012 shooting spree at a Jewish school in the city that left three children and another man dead. “We will never forget the horrific shooting,” he said, adding that it was “a very dark day for Jewish life in Europe.”
He vowed that the “European Commission and the European Union would fight antisemitism wherever it rears its ugly head.” In January, the first vice president said that the European Commission was committed to combating antisemitism in Europe, and that it would put forth a new strategy to do so by this month.