Belgische Ambassadeur in Israël, John Cornet d'Elsius met Ere-voorzitster Kouky Frohmann in de KnessetDe Belgische Ambassadeur in Israël, John Cornet d’Elsius, was één van de Europese ambassadeurs die de delegatie van 36 Europese Joodse leiders uit 26 landen heeft begeleid in de Knesset. Hij heeft uitvoerig de strijd tegen het antisemitisme en tegen BDS uiteengezet aan de leden van de Knesset.

“In Israel, European Jews Warn of Growing Anti-Semitism”
By Linda Gradstein – The Media Line – June 24, 2015

Warning of growing support for BDS, European Jewish leaders say there is more anti-Israel sentiment and more anti-Semitism in Europe today than at any time in the past 60 years. A new poll found that nearly 150 million Europeans think Israel is an apartheid state and even uses Nazi methods.

A group of European Jewish leaders who are visiting Israel on behalf of the Israel Jewish Congress told Knesset members that they have been subjected to harassment and death threats. For example in London, residents are bracing for a large neo-Nazi rally next month, and many Jews in Europe say they do not display any Jewish symbols for fear of an attack. …

“Anti-semitism has been increasing a lot,” Saskia Pantell, the Executive Director of the Zionist Federation of Sweden told The Media Line. “Jewish children in one Jewish school in Stockholm have not been allowed to go outside during recess for security reasons. We had a winter camp cancelled for security reasons. It’s getting very limited in regards to freedom. Most Jews don’t say their Jewish or wear a kippa (skullcap) or Star of David.”

She herself has been the target of death threats, and said the community in Sweden, which numbers 15,000 – 18,000 Jews was shaken by the shooting at a synagogue in Copenhagen in February.

Even in Germany, which has a broad program of Holocaust education, and has been especially sensitive to charges of anti-Semitism, anti-Jewish acts are up 25 percent over past years.

“We always say that Jews feel safe (in Germany),” Itai Abelski, a young Jewish leader in Germany, which has an estimated 125,000 Jews, told The Media Line. “But how does a Jew feel safe if he doesn’t show he is Jewish?”

He said there is a discrepancy between government positions, with Israel and Germany being close allies, and what the general population believes. There is also an increase in Germany of radical Muslim sentiment.

Some of these Jewish leaders say that growing sentiment against Israel, especially since last summer’s war between Israel and the Islamist Hamas movement that left more than 2100 Palestinians and 70 Israelis dead has intensified the tensions. The United Nations Human Rights Council this week released a report criticizing both Israel and Hamas for possible war crimes, and saying that about 1400 of the dead were civilians – a number Israel disputes.

More Europeans are calling for a boycott of goods from Israel, or at least from areas that Israel acquired in 1967. The European Union is currently considering this type of labeling, and some private companies have begun to divest from Israel. Stephane Richard, the CEO of the Orange telecommunications company, sparked a furor in Israel when he said he would dump Israel “tomorrow” if he could, although he later apologized.

“They see a lot of conflation between attacks on the state of Israel and on them as Jews,” Arsen Ostrovsky, the director of research at The Israel Jewish Congress told The Media Line. “There is a blurring of the lines between attacking Jews and attacking the state of Israel.”

The Israel Jewish Congress brought 35 Jewish leaders from 26 European countries to meet Israeli officials to try to find ways to fight anti-Semitism and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement known as BDS. In France, Ostrovsky said, half of all hate crimes are directed at Jews even though Jews represent only one percent of the total population in France. It is still the largest Jewish community in Europe with about 500,000 Jews.

“Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are the same thing,” Gil Taieb, the Vice-President of the Jewish community in France told The Media Line. “We saw that wherever there was a demonstration in favor of BDS, they spoke in favor of anti-Semitism.”

He said the community is still reeling from the January shootings of four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris. The four were buried in Israel, partly because government officials feared their graves could be desecrated, he said.

At the same time in some Jewish communities in Europe, some Jews are pushing back against the harassment.
“Many are sick of it and are starting to wear large Jewish star necklaces,” Pantell of Sweden said. “They get death threats but they say they just don’t care anymore and they will speak out for Israel.”

Foto’s: {Gallery dir=’IJC-European-Leaders-Congress-in-Jerusalem-23-25-J-une-2015′}

The media / FJO – Belgische Ambassadeur in Israël, John Cornet d’Elsius met Ere-voorzitster Kouky Frohmann in de Knesset